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The Value of a Good Father

Children who grow up with involved fathers are: 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to spend time in jail.
Just as there is no overstating the value of a good mother, the same can be said for the value of a good father — though if one were to go by the media’s portrayal, most fathers have little to admire. Frequently fathers are portrayed as buffoons, absent, abusive, lazy, having low moral standards, or some combination of those negative traits.

“Our culture has strategically and incrementally devalued men and manhood,” writes Gordon Houston, director for Ministry to Men in the AG SoCal Network. “I see it every day in TV, media, and on multiple social platforms.”

Yet, repeatedly studies confirm the value of involved fathers in families.

According to the Child & Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas in Austin, involved fathers play a key role in their children’s future success.

Their research has found that involved fatherhood “is linked to better outcomes on nearly every measure of child wellbeing, from cognitive development and educational achievement to self-esteem and pro-social behavior. Children who grow up with involved fathers are: 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school, 45% less likely to repeat a grade, 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school, twice as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to spend time in jail.”

Dr. Gail Cross, a recognized expert in the fields of parenting, human behavior, and education also finds that good fathers are vitally important. She writes in a blog post:

“It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of dad. For example, girls who have good relationships with their fathers tend to do better in math, and boys who have actively involved fathers tend to have better grades and perform better on achievement tests. And well-bonded boys develop securely with a stable and sustained sense of self. Who we are and who we are to be, we are becoming, and fathers are central to that outcome.”

Even the U.S. government has on its “fatherhood.gov“ site numerous examples of how involved fathers make a significant difference in children’s lives — everything from increased verbal skills and mental dexterity to greater empathy and self-control.

“We cannot look to the media or current culture, which seems to ignore research to benefit its own purposes, to define the value of men or fathers,” states Rick Allen, director of AG Men’s Ministries. “The Church must confirm the value God places on being a good father. In reality, today’s research on the importance of involved fathers simply confirms what the Bible has said all along.”

Allen, however, explains that research often fails to recognize two vital keys: that as a father, a man is to love and respect his wife, which is an example for children to live by; and how vital it is for fathers to teach and reinforce Scripture to their children.

“The Bible is the authoritative source for being a good father,” Allen says, “and passing along scriptural truth to our children so that they grow up walking with God may be the most important responsibility a father has.”

To learn more about ministry to men in the AG, see men.ag.org. National Men’s Ministries Day in the Assemblies of God is June 16, Father’s Day.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.