Thursday, July 05, 2007

Faith and Fatherhood

Family researcher, Loren Marks, and co-author of Why Fathers Count, is interviewed.

Another book that looks good (when the book budget is back in line...) is Father – The Family Protector, by James Stenson.


David Nybakke said...

Never heard of findings like this before in research and still not quite sure how reliable any research is... All research that I have seen showed that (at least with Christian families) there were no noticeable difference between families going to church and non-church going families. The amount of TV time, sports, movies, family time, etc; the number of beer parties, arrests of family members, drug abuse, domestic violence, etc; on and on, was virtual indistinguishable between church going and non-church going families. The ELCA pastor, where I attended church prior to my conversion, made it his business to study all research on families and he could not produce any documented evidence that we Christians (in modern day USA) lived any differently than non-church going families.

But now, in this study there is a huge asterisk as it relates to church going families – for in this study… “Families who have structured, sacred family rituals are sending their children the message…” If we combine all previous studies with this study, where they obviously looked more closely or zeroed in on the more religious of the church going families, we may have an important stat – the difference between simply church going and those church going parents who have establish “structured, sacred family rituals” for their families. Going to church and checking off their to-do-list the hour-a-week-church-attendance just doesn’t cut it if you want to give your children a chance to grow up healthy and in the faith. Parents need to have their families a part of a strong faith community that is focused on the sacred with a sense of relationship with God and that they can model living a consistent and meaningful appreciation of tradition. In other words providing their children models to imitate walking the talk. How do researchers factor in this component into their research and wouldn’t it be a valuable component to be researched?

David Nybakke said...

We fathers need all the help we can get. So along with these resources, Why Fathers Count and Father, the Family Protector we must not forget the most important resource, the CCC and even the Baltimore Catechism that answers why God made you - "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next."

To me there is not enough emphasis on praying and discerning ones call to vocation (of marriage) and relationship with God. As men, if we truly took seriously our relationship with God, and if we had the models to emulate and support us as we developed, we would live strong family virtues. Dawn Eden is excellent model for young women as she promotes praying and discernment of ones call to a possible vocation of marriage. I believe that a process discerning our call of vocation needs to be grasped by men as well and that men need to see marriage as a vocation.

To me when we stray a bit from the CCC and biblical text we often get into scientific and secular attempts at explaining the need for fathers and then we can veer off into something like Summerhill.

I have not read these 2 books on fatherhood, they both look good and I am particularly drawn to the Protector of Family book. However in scanning the book description it lists many areas of life where fathers deal with the children and faith is not one of them - and that is why I linked Summerhill, where AS Neill, the headmaster of the boarding school, was pretty critical to any and all traditional religious contact having to do with children.

David Nybakke said...

I know... I'm hogging the comments...I continue on the notion that marriage is not held up as important to most people, at least that was my experience. Here is a Q & A from the site: But marriage is a vocation too, isn't it?

Peter asks:

Hello, I know that the vocation that most of us are called to is the vocation of marriage and it would be nice if everybody called to this vocation would have 7 years of preparation like the religious or 12 years like the priests, but most important to advertise to everyone out there that marriage IS A VOCATION!!! and that you are called to be a saint in marriage also. God bless you.

Dear Peter,

How right you are! Marriage is a call from God. Since it is the most common call, we usually reserve 'vocation' for the call to the priesthood and religious life, but the truth is God calls everyone, some to the priesthood and religious life, and most to the married life.

As regards your wish, that everybody called to the married vocation could have 7 or 12 years of preparation, I think you may be missing something. In an ideal world you should really receive preparation from the time you are born and as you grow up in your family and discover what marriage life is, or should be. The example of your parents, the 'inside' information on family life we all acquire: the interrelationships, the practical matters such as finances... Then you should receive the added instruction your faith, the catechism, etc.. And the support and guidance (and correction) of your parents as you go through adolescence and youth... All of which should be preparing you for years.

The problem is, not all of this happens as it should. The culture around us makes many marriages and families conform to standards that are not Christ's, and often the example we get is not what it should be; sometimes we are not taught about all the richness of marriage as understood in the Church. In many places a valiant effort is made in the Pre- Cana courses given in the parishes and dioceses, but it is often very little to counteract what we absorb day in and day out from the media, friends, the demands of our passions...

I don't know what age you are, but I presume you have discovered that marriage is your vocation. I would encourage you to do something to solve the problem you point out. Do something to get the young people you know to learn more about the true meaning and beauty (and cost) of the marriage vocation.

God bless.