The survey asked, “What kind of father are you? The choiceswere:

1. Authoritative;

2. Controlling;

3. Nurturing;

4. Easy going;

and 5. A push-over.

I pondered the question as it pertains to me, and came up with a choice that was not included in the survey: All of the above.

Fatherhood done right is such an awesome responsibility-not to be taken lightly. A father holds the key to the emotional development of another person in his hands. In order to fulfill the task of rearing well-rounded, contributing members of society, a father must juggle many attributes, keeping them all in the proper balance, and knowing when to use one or the other.

A father must be authoritarian when a decision has to be made. Children do not have the experience or intellect to make most major decisions. An effective father will work with the mother and make a decision and present it to their children in a unanimous fashion. The democratic approach doesn’t work in family situations, because you cannot allow equal input to young people who do not have the intellect or experience to make such decisions.

A father must be controlling at times. When a child decides to participate in an activity that may be dangerous or injurious (physically or emotionally), parents have to take control and make a definitive ruling to the child. Sometimes, the most loving word is, “No”. Although a father may feel more popular when he gives in, it is not possible to be an effective father and always be popular. A good father knows when to apply tough love, and when to give in.

A father should be nurturing in all things. He must make time for his children, even when he doesn’t feel like it. I remember taking my four daughters, one at a time for special time with Dad.

They were allowed to decide where we would go, even if the activity was not my favorite pass time. They tell their children about the wonderful times they experienced fishing, going to the zoo or museum, Daddy-Daughter dances, taking lunches to the park for picnics. It is wonderful to know how much they enjoyed those times together.

A father must be ready and able to take a stand when he witnesses self-defeating behaviors forming the child’s life, or when he sees his child making the wrong choices in friends. When my girls were young, I tried to use every situation as a life lesson, showing them the application to life, often using Bible stories to bring the lesson home.

When God stated, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”…I tried to take Him seriously, as my parents did with me. I knew, as they did, that a child needs a firm foundation built on faith, trust and love. I wanted to assure that, when my children made mistakes, as we all do, and when they feel a sense of despair, they would know where to look for answers — Up!

A person who has not been given a foundation in trust and belief in God is often lost when he or she is faced with adversity, whereas a child who has been taught to trust in a loving God knows they can always turn to Him for answers and comfort.

I believe this is the greatest responsibility a father is given. I am blessed to know my daughters know and love both their earthly father and their heavenly Father!


By James J. Jackson