My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father–that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21, NLT.
It’s healthy when dads are involved in parenting. Here are the facts: kids with dads have healthier social relationships and higher achievement motivation and therefore do better in school. They are more able to defer immediate gratification for later rewards. They have higher self-esteem and are less susceptible to group influence and to juvenile delinquency. In fact, “All the elements of mental health are better,” states Dr. Robert Moradi, a psychiatrist at the University of California at Los Angeles’s School of Medicine. After analyzing census figures, Dr. Loren Moshen, of the National Institute of Mental Health, concluded that absence of the father was a stronger factor than poverty in contributing to juvenile delinquency.
But of all the findings the most incredible was Dr. Kyle Pruett’s that men who have been involved in the physical care of children under the age of 3 are significantly less likely to become involved in the sexual abuse of children. Apparently, the very intimacy of feeding, changing diapers, and bathing seems to inoculate men against subsequent sexual arousal, not just in relation to their own children but to others as well. The concluding statement in a special issue of Newsweek Magazine (spring/summer, 1997, p. 73) put it this way: “Few forces are as powerful, and as underused in our culture, as this sacred bond between father and child, the magnetic attraction of strength for weakness, the ‘attachment’ that begins with dependence and grows into love.”
But there’s more: In a study of 1,337 medical doctors who graduated from Johns Hopkins University between 1948 and 1964, lack of closeness with parents was a common factor in hypertension, coronary heart disease, malignant tumors, mental illness, and suicide. In a study of 39 teenage girls suffering from the anorexia nervosa eating disorder, 36 had one common factor: lack of closeness with Dad. In a study done at John Hopkins University, white teenage girls living in fatherless families were 60 percent more likely to have premarital intercourse than those living in two-parent homes.
Fathers, if you want healthy kids, get involved with them–and with God!
My heavenly Father, may my family see You in me through my actions and my words.