Father's Day

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace
 and be a chain of honor around your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

Who taught you to ride your bike, build a castle in the sand or kick about a football? Who helped your build your first Airfix, taught you how to drive a car or walked you down the aisle on that special day?

For some of us reading this in our minds eye we can see our fathers, patient men helping impatient children. But for others of us we can see someone else taking on the role that tradition would assign to the daddy.

A recent report from the Centre for Social Justice states that more than a million UK children are growing up without a father figure in their lives. It is estimated that this number will climb beyond two million by 2015.

The absence of fathers is linked to higher rates of teenage crime, pregnancy and disadvantage, the report says, warning that the UK is experiencing a ‘tsunami’ of family breakdown.
BBC News (10th June 2013)

It’s an alarming statistic and presents the stark reality for many children today.

The Bible clearly illustrates the value of two parents, “Listen when your father corrects you.” That was how I learned to ride my bike, trial, error and encouraging correction. “Don’t neglect your mothers instructions.” That was how I stayed safe on my bike, by following my mother’s rules and being home before dinner.

Correction from my father and care from my mother provided two different perspectives, both essential to the development of a fiercely independent six year old released on two wheels.

So as we think about Father’s Day in the UK, let us treat it as more than just another special Sunday. Will you commit to consciously pray for those who live without a father figure? Will you give some time to those who are single parents, struggling alone in a role meant for two?

It is intriguing that just after answering questions on divorce Matthew records Jesus as saying this:

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

Fiona McDonald
Director of National Ministries