Looking at the world through the lens of the Bible, it is obvious that our culture is in very dangerous times. Morally speaking, the larger culture in which we find ourselves is seemingly running headlong away from any sense of Biblical morality and is trans-planting it with perversion, rebellion against authority, and a "no one can tell me what to do" attitude.
One sign of that dangerous trend has been going on for a long time, and that is the subversion of fatherhood in the culture. A man who would strive to just be a good dad is the brunt of countless jokes. Because he might not be the richest or the strongest or the wildest, he is treated as weak and boring. He is the idiot in the sitcoms. He is the punching bag in many gossip sessions. He "can't do anything right."
This is a very dangerous sign because, when we look at the Bible, a man who would simply be a good and faithful dad is held up as a lynchpin in the home and in society. It is fathers who are told to "bring [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Do mothers not have a role in that? There is no doubt that they do, but the primary weight of responsibility lands squarely on the shoulders of the father. A real man, no matter what society says, is a man who shoulders that responsibility with every fiber of his being.
Years ago, Clifton Rogers wrote a poem that expresses the heart of a dad who has his priorities in order:
I may never be as clever as my neighbor down the street,
I may never be as wealthy as some other men I meet,
I may never have the glory that some other men have had,
But I've got to be successful as a little fellow's dad.
There are certain dreams I cherish that I'd like to see come true,
There are things I would accomplish ere my working time is through,
But the task my heart is set on is to guide a little lad,
And to make myself successful as a little fellow's dad.
I may never come to glory, I may never gather gold,
Men may count me as a failure when my business tale is told,
But if he who follows after shall be manly, I'll be glad,
For I'll know I've been successful as a little fellow's dad.
It's the one job I dream of; it's the task I think of most;
If I fail that growing youngster, I'd have nothing else to boast;
For though wealth and fame I'd gather, all my future would be sad,
If I failed to be successful as that little fellow's dad.
My "lad" is not so little anymore (nor is my girl), but I fully get the feeling of that poem. Certainly, there are wishes and dreams I might have that my children could "hold me back" on, because it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy and money to raise children. But when my priorities are aligned with the will of God, my children are not holding me back at all, because I am doing the most important work any dad could ever do when I spend time with them and in-still Biblical values in their hearts.
Dads, if you are being a faithful and godly dad, society will make fun of you and try to tell you to feel as if your role is nothing but outdated, overbearing, or just drudgery. But we know better! We know that God gave us these children to raise, teach, discipline, and disciple, and if we are doing that with every ounce of our bring, we are a true success.