If you want to see how our culture views the importance of fathers in society, just take a look at
television and movies. Dads were once elevated as wise and loving role models, they are now
more likely to be portrayed as foolish and lost. On one end, they are bumblers who don’t have a
day’s worth of common sense. On the other end, they are manipulative abusers who will do
whatever they can to get their way. Even worse, in some cases, fathers are nowhere to be found
Whatever the case, it’s not a pretty picture. It’s also not an accurate portrayal of what genuine
For decades, research has consistently affirmed the importance of fathers. What’s more,
academic studies and anecdotal evidence have emphasized the damage done when fathers don’t
step up and fulfill their family responsibilities.
So, let’s take a few minutes to set the record straight. Fathers are incredibly important. In fact,
the importance of dads really can’t be overstated. And, among all the reasons why the world
needs involved and active dads, one stands out as most vital to families and society.
Fathers have a lot of responsibilities that make them important, but none is more significant than
the role they play as the primary spiritual leaders of their homes. From ancient times, God has
called dads to talk to their children about Him and to lead them toward Him in a meaningful
way. Of course, that does not diminish the role and influence of mothers, but the Scriptures seem
to emphasize fathers.
In addition, children often define their heavenly Father through the filter of their earthly fathers.
If the human relationship goes south, it’s harder for kids (and, later, adults) to believe God really
cares about them and wants the best for them. The power of projection is real, which makes the
way a father approaches his spiritual role so important.
Thankfully, a dad who takes his spiritual obligations seriously is more likely to take other roles
and responsibilities seriously. In the list below, I’ve identified five additional areas of influence
that underscore the importance of fathers.
The importance of fathers can be seen through the spirit cultivated in their own homes. Through
their words, actions, attitudes, and priorities, dads create a culture. In the best cases, that culture
will be open and loving. In the worst cases, it will be marked by fear and repression. While each
person is responsible for their own actions, dads set the tone for the rest of the family.
All children long for acceptance and affirmation, especially from their fathers. Encouragement
can raise kids to incredible heights, while disapproval (or even the perception of disapproval) can
be devastating. When it comes to shaping identity, the importance of dads can’t be overstated.
On one hand, boys look to their fathers to learn how to be a man. On the other hand, girls look to
their fathers to set the standard for other significant men in their lives. The way fathers relate to
their kids goes a long way toward determining how those kids develop mentally, emotionally,
and (as mentioned above) spiritually.
Fathers are important because they provide an example of good discipline. While husbands need
to work in conjunction with their wives on matters of discipline, they should never abdicate their
role in setting boundaries and enforcing consequences. Also, children who are disciplined with
love (rather than anger) learn to deal with rules better as adults.
Of course, the key to disciplining children is learning to discipline yourself first. Thankfully,
Scripture can provide great insights into both sides of this discipline equation.
Often, children get into trouble at school or in the community because they struggle to feel a
connection at home. In many cases, they don’t experience the comfort that comes from a father
who intentionally provides a sense of security. Kids need to know that dad has their back.
Interestingly, the best ways dads can offer this security have nothing to do with tough talk or
aggressive actions. Instead, they communicate security through things like physical affection and
a healthy relationship with their spouse. When kids experience these elements at home, they
don’t need to look for security anywhere else.
In one of his last known letters, Paul told his friend Timothy that Christian men who did not
provide for their families were worse than men who claimed no relationship with God at all (1
Timothy 5:8). While such men might have eternal security in Christ, God will hold them
accountable for shirking the responsibility He has given them to care for their wives and kids.
But we also need to remember that the importance of fathers in this arena is not limited to
financial concerns. Healthy dads know how to balance work and family time. This also has the
added benefit of teaching kids about the value of hard work, while reminding them they are not
defined by a job or position.
When you consider the importance of fathers in our society, you might feel a little overwhelmed.
That’s understandable because it’s a really big job. But you also need to understand that you are
not alone. Organizations like Manhood Journey have a variety of resources that can equip you to
be the man and father God has called you to be. What’s more, you can find other men who are
going through the same struggles and want to make the same positive impact on their children’s
lives. You can learn and grow together.
Most important, you have the blessing and support of your heavenly Father. He created you and
He loves you more than you can imagine. He wants you to succeed, and He’s standing ready to
guide and direct you.
Fathers are important. God says so. Research affirms it. The commitment you make to become a
living example of the importance of dads in our society will speak volumes as well.