Note to fathers: Your child needs you

“With such negative outcomes predicted for children whose fathers play no role in their lives, it makes sense for men to take responsibility and play their important and necessary role.”
Note to Fathers: Your child needs you
Pastor Clement Okusi encourages fathers to play an active role in the lives of their children when their relationship with the mother breaks down. He says it’s worth it in the end.
“I don’t need a dad” was the rousing consensus among seven young Black men I was witnessing to in Croydon some time ago. I was explaining how God was a loving Father, and used earthly fatherhood to illustrate a picture of God. Well, it appears this metaphor was inadequate, because these men had been raised without a father. Were these young men correct? Is it true that fathers are not needed, other than for sperm donation?
Research has indicated that children, who grow up in homes without a father, are more likely to exhibit behavioural problems; run away from home; become sexually active at a young age; drop out of education; take drugs; get involved in gangs; commit crime and end up in prison.
With such negative outcomes predicted for children whose fathers play no role in their lives, it makes sense for men to take responsibility and play their important and necessary role.
I would like to suggest several ways fathers maintain their influence in their child’s life, even though they may be estranged from the mother. I speak as a father of three girls (aged 20, 11 and 8) and one boy (aged five months), whose eldest daughter is from a previous relationship I had when I was 20 years old, prior to my salvation.
F-inances – A primary role of fatherhood is that of provider. Children are dependent(s). In other words, they trust, rely and depend upon their fathers for financial support. 1 Timothy 5:8 states, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.” Nothing irks me more than men who think nothing of spending £50 on trainers, or £300 on an ipad or laptop, yet refuse to provide £200 per month (per child). Fathers, you should:
• decide a realistic sum you can give monthly, and set up a direct debit to pay this;
• keep receipts and bank statements (I recently came across nursery receipts from 1996!) in case you need proof that you have been financially supporting your child(ren)

A-ccess – Fathers, we have a limited amount of time to develop a ‘life-lasting’ bond with our children. I am amazed at how quickly time flies; my baby girl is now a 20-year-old woman! John 14:18 says, “I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm; I will come to you.” Use the time you have with them to impart your values into them. My eldest daughter has embraced my Christian faith for herself, and is now an active member of our church.
• Be on time when collecting and dropping off your child
• Obtain a Parental Responsibility (PR) Order, if necessary (see

T-emper – When relationships break down with the mother of your child, there are often ill feelings involved. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls.” It’s important, brothers, to keep a cool head, especially when things don’t go the way you would like. The weight of the law lies with the mother (rightly so, as primary carer), and your temper can jeopardise your role as a father. I know fathers who have lost valuable time with their children because their temper got the better of them.
• Make up your mind to exercise forgiveness to all

H-olidays and special occasions – Holidays were a big bone of contention for me for a number of years, especially at Christmas time. Prior planning and forethought is the name of the game here – on both sides. Proverbs 6:6 states: “Go to the ant, O sluggard; observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest”.

E-ndurance – being a father is tough, especially when you have separated from the mother, however, DO NOT QUIT! Galatians 6:9 says, “Do not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Winners never quit, and quitters never win, so don’t give up on your child – no matter how difficult it gets – the rewards later on are massive. I look at my daughter now and I thank God I persevered and didn’t give up!

R-espect – you have to respect your ex-partner’s privacy and choices. 1 Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone.” Chances are that she will form a new relationship with another man. This means there must be certain boundaries. Contend for a cordial relationship with your ex, irrespective of the reasons that caused your relationship to break down.
May God help all of us as fathers to rise up and be responsible for our children.
Pastor Clement Okusi is Senior Pastor of Potter’s House Croydon, Surrey, a thriving Pentecostal church. Visit www. for more details.

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