Happy Father’s Day! 31 Father’s Days later I am still working at being a godly dad. Recently with the addition of “Grand” to my father title it will be important to continue being a spiritual role model to my growing family. Aaron will experience his first Father’s Day today and hopefully appreciate this new role and journey in life. Little Gwenyvere, just like every other child, needs a godly father and mother to survive in this world. Statistics, which clearly change from year to year, have shown that when mothers bring their children every week to church about 65% continue to participate as adults. When fathers, along with mom, bring their children to church about 90% continue to attend! What a powerful statement and statistic to keep in the forefront of our minds. Dad you need to take your God given role as a father very seriously every day. You don't have to be a perfect father – more than anything you just need to be present. The recent statistic for fatherless homes amongst African American children is at an alarming 63%. These and many other statistics paint a picture for the need for a father present in the home but also engaged with their children. If I were to give myself a rating as a father, from 1-10, the number would be 7. My best success has been in faithfully taking my children to church and specifically being involved in more than just what is typically required as a Pastor. We didn’t just show up, we were all very committed. Sometimes the level of involvement created moments of frustration for our children. They wanted to be with some of their own friends rather than at special events or outreach activities. My greatest admonishment to fathers reading this article: do not force your children to love God by doing as many activities as possible no matter how worthy the purpose. Lead by example; don’t give your young children any options as it relates to regular church attendance and activities. Instill within your sons and daughters the right priorities from a very early age. The reason being... teenager years are the most challenging, and if you force them at this point to attend you will just frustrate yourself. Here is what the scriptures tell us, “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4 NLT. A companion passage is “Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:20-21 NLT. When reading the scripture it is always best to read the whole passage rather than just picking specific verses out to prove a point. The balance we find from these passages shows who the boss is and who needs to obey. Yet at the same time it says we can take it too far as a parent, especially for those of us who are dads. My score would probably be closer to 8 or 9 if I had done a better job of not getting frustrated with my children when they showed little or no interest in certain church activities. For us fathers these thoughts and statistics are sobering, yet at the same time we don’t lose hope because God is for us and He goes with us. Today we celebrate the fathers who are here and those who have gone on to their reward. We are thankful for their protection, leadership, and loving care they provide. Happy Fathers Day!