Dads4Kids Celebrating 20 Years Helping Our Children Thrive

Dads4Kids Celebrating 20 Years Helping Our Children Thrive

Dads4Kids has been on a mission to turn the toxic tide of fatherlessness throughout Australia and even the world. With your help, we can continue building up better fathers, who will lay the foundations for their families to flourish throughout their lives.

I have warm memories of my Dad telling my brother and me stories, each night before we went to sleep. Stories of adventures in faraway lands, strange encounters with tigers and black panthers in the wild jungle.

True life snake stories (my favourite) and stories about stockmen and horses in the Australian outback. These stories were always riveting and greatly encouraging.

Looking back, I realise that the reason they were ‘warm’ and ‘greatly encouraging’ was because it was a real live Dad, who loved his children and who was giving his children his undivided attention through telling stories.

It left a long, warm glow on the inside of me, and the comfort to go to sleep and dream the beautiful dreams that every child deserves to dream.

Grief

Sadly, within a few years, my Mum and Dad went their separate ways for a time. I found out later that my Dad was heartbroken as a single father without access to ‘his boys’. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were heartbroken too.

Daddy Doesn't Live Here bookI didn’t realise how heartbroken I was until my early thirties when I randomly picked up a children’s book on a sale table in a shopping centre. My children were young and as a young dad, I was always looking for books to read to the children at night before sleep.

The book, Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, caught my attention in the most unexpected way. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at the pages. I knew the story well and the broken heart that went with the story.

Crucial Foundation

Last Thursday at the Dads4Kids Breakthrough Webinar, a single mother, Sarah Shannon, was asked, “Why are you such a strong supporter and regular donor to Dads4Kids?” My heart skipped a beat when she replied.

“I lost my Dad at the age of eleven. When he passed away my whole world went upside down. I know the importance of having a dad around. He was our solid rock. He was the love of my life. I looked up to him. He taught us many things. When he passed away heaven had gone and hell had come into my life, so I know the importance of having a loving, supportive Dad. The mission of Dads4Kids (to give our children the best start in life) is something I am 200% in support of.”

Our stories are not dissimilar. The pain of fatherlessness is expressed in many different ways. That’s why fatherless children are more likely to end up on drugs, to self-harm, be more prone to suicide, more likely be sexually abused, more likely to drop out of school, more likely to get involved in crime and end up in prison, and the list goes on.

The good news is that when we turn the tide of fatherlessness, our children get the best start in life. Children of involved fathers have a higher IQ, do better at school, enjoy better health, have better relational outcomes, have superior problem-solving skills, have higher levels of economic and career success, and all this is just the beginning.

On a Mission

Over the last 20 years, Dads4Kids has worked hard to turn the tide of fatherlessness in Australia. In 1998, our dear friend Pastor Ron Williams, Indigenous Elder and Leader, declared:

‘The greatest need in Australia is the restoration of fatherhood.’

This led Alison and me, with the support of our wonderful board, to found Dads4Kids in 2002.

Since then, over 21 million people have viewed our message of excellence in fathering found in the Dads4Kids Community Service Announcements as seen on television, inspiring men to be better fathers.

Over the last 20 years, Dads4Kids has equipped, encouraged and inspired millions of fathers through the web, social media and mainstream media. Through our new Dads4Kids Inside-Out Fathering Program, we will support Indigenous and other incarcerated dads within the Australian prison system.

The Dads4Kids weekly email newsletter, inspiring fathers and encouraging families, has been sent out over 3 million times since 2002. Beginning in 2004, the Dads4Kids 10-Week Good to Great Fathering Program has trained over 420 men in excellence in fathering.

In 2007, Dads4Kids helped pioneer a National Men’s Health Policy in the federal government. Through our efforts, the lives of over 3,000 men have been saved. With your help, Dads4Kids has campaigned, and will continue to campaign, against child sexual abuse and to protect women and children from sexual exploitation.

Global Reach

Dads4Kids is the main global supporter for International Men’s Day on November 19 every year. Worldwide, we have campaigned strongly for improvement in men’s health and a reduction in the global male suicide epidemic. Dads4Kids has helped save tens of thousands of men’s lives worldwide over the past 14 years. With your help, we will save the lives of hundreds of thousands more men in the years to come.

Through Dads4Kids Courageous Online Fathering Courses, Dads4Kids Fatherhood Success Seminars, and the annual Dads4Kids Men’s Leadership Summit, we have helped thousands to become better dads, and trained hundreds of dads in how to train others.

In short, the Dads4Kids mission can be spelled out in three words: “Help people love.” Love is the Greatest Force in the Universe.

We could not do all these things without you, our amazing Dads4Kids supporters, subscribers, volunteers and donors. We look forward to 20 more years of transforming Australia, and the world, by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be. Together, we can make a difference.

Lovework

We announced at the Dads4Kids Breakthrough Webinar that strategic supporters of Dads4Kids have put up an amazing $87,000 matching challenge!

Your one-time gift, or the annualized amount of your monthly pledge to Dads4Kids, given before the 30 June, will be instantly doubled. The really good news is that this is a great way to reduce your tax!

Every donation is tax-deductible!

[GIVE HERE]

Yours for Our Children,
Warwick Marsh

PS: Last Thursday’s Dads4Kids Breakthrough Webinar was very real, raw and yet deeply moving. If you have not yet seen it, check it out here.

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.

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‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

The moving story in “Top Gun: Maverick” of a fatherless son’s journey toward healing is proving popular with audiences worldwide. This is a film highlighting the importance of fatherhood, portraying a tale of reconciliation and redemption.

Top Gun: Maverick is smashing box offices, and it’s easy to understand why.

The film is spectacularly outpacing its weak-because-they’re-woke counterparts, because the film’s unapologetic dad themes resonate.

Alongside the gutsy F-18 camera shots, audiences are in love with the Tom Cruise/Joseph Kosinski sequel because its father-son backstory hits home.

Even the, “it’s all flag-waving, MAGA propagandist tripe” critics are applauding the sequel for keeping to the consistency of the first film’s deep relational backbone.

As The Atlantic’s David Sims explained, the film’s ‘emotional weight rests on Pete Mitchell (Maverick) fighting to earn the respect of Goose’s son (Rooster), who blames Maverick for the tragic loss of his father.’

Childhood Memory

For me, Top Gun: Maverick cut deeper.

My family and I recently saw the film for a birthday bash. The only thing missing was my dad.

Watching the first Top Gun at the cinema with my dad was to be one of the only long-lasting positive memories I would have of him.

It was 1986, I was 9, and we’d turned up late to the cinema.

Missing the iconic afterburner intro of the first Top Gun, dad and I slid into our seats in rhythm with Tony Scott’s smooth golden orange sunset, shot high above a lone F-14 landing on the silhouette of the USS Enterprise.

It became a shared interest, a mutual pursuit, a common bond solely shared between father and son.

From the soundtrack, which always seemed to be on repeat in our broken-down housing commission home, to the old-school Amstrad computer game, the movie connected us.

This was true, right up until my dad’s final week, when, knowing he would never get a chance to wear it, I gifted him a T-shirt with the Top Gun logo on it.

Now covered in dust, I still hold onto the volumes of Warplane magazines he’d chosen to buy me, instead of paying “through the teeth” for participation in a weekend sport.

Healing

I related to the second film because of the first.

Similar to ‘Goose’s’ son in the film, I was confronted by what was lost, what might have been, and what my dad chose to abandon somewhere along the way.

The sequel made the memories all the more material when Val Kilmer (Iceman), tells Maverick — still haunted by the death of ‘Goose’ — “It’s time to let go.”

Seeing the first film at the cinema in 1986 with my dad was an oasis event, an anomaly of normalcy in a wasteland of ash.

This explains why, in almost every scene of Top Gun: Maverick, I heard, and felt my dad’s absence, and choked up at Hans Zimmer’s rendition of Faltermeyer’s iconic Top Gun anthem.

We’re taught in The Good Book to raise up thanksgiving in the face of suffering. Even the smallest object or event that is worthy of our gratitude puts points on the board when it comes to healing trauma.

In retrospect, watching Top Gun with my dad in ’86 was the first, and only time he offered me a healthy introduction to manhood.

His wasn’t perfect, but that was a perfect day. That day my dad did good, and for that I thank him.

For me, the only thing missing from Top Gun: Maverick was the man who took me to see the first one, sitting, at his best, beside me and my uber-impressed family.

Top Gun was, and is, about loss, grief, and recovery; fatherhood, and fatherlessness — as much as it is about courage, defiance, and the determination to overcome obstructions encountered along the way.

The sequel builds on its original father-son backstory. It is “dad cinema” at its very best.

To lean on Miles Surrey’s review in The Ringer,

‘Every single dad — past, present, and those who are expecting to be dads in the near future — should check out Maverick, if not for the sanctity of ensuring Dad Cinema doesn’t fade away, then for experiencing a blockbuster that surpasses its predecessor in every respect.’

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First published at Dads4Kids.

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Your Decisions Shape Your Destiny

Your Decisions Shape Your Destiny

The Depp case highlights the injustice which men often face in our politicised policing and legal systems, tainted by radical feminist and neo-Marxist ideologies. May it open the conversation to restore basic principles of fairness when dealing with the scourge of domestic violence.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped,” are the wise words of Tony Robbins.

In the year 2002, my wife and I, and some close friends, were contemplating starting up the work of Dads4Kids to give the children of Australia a better future.

We had been talking about the idea for over two years, but we knew it was a daunting project.

It is easy to say the words found at the bottom of our website, “Building Men — Growing Fathers — Changing Generations,” but it is a mammoth project to commit to.

Growing up mostly fatherless in my early years provided some solid inspiration, but it did not convince me. What got me across the line was a heartfelt story from a young woman who was a dear friend of our family.

One day she came home from school to find her mother bashed unconscious in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Her father was the abuser and divorce was the result. She said to me with great emotion, “If you could stop just one act of violence and save one marriage by starting Dads4Kids, it would be all worth it.”

Muhammad Jinnah said, “Think 100 times before you take a decision, but once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man.” That has been the case since May 2002 as we celebrate 20 years of the existence of Dads4Kids.

The team at Dads4Kids is absolutely committed to stopping domestic violence, whether that be male domestic violence or female domestic violence. The facts are: domestic violence by any gender is a scourge on our society.

The best way to turn the tide of domestic violence, whether male or female, is to turn the tide of fatherlessness. Changes over time in the level of father absence in a community, significantly predicts changes in female and male rates of violence.

I have always been aware of female domestic violence. When I was only five years of age, I witnessed my auntie throwing cups and plates at my uncle. Luckily, he ducked very quickly. He could have been disfigured for life.

Many years later in my young teens, my mother scratched my father’s face so badly that she drew blood. My father was a real man, and he knew that real men don’t hit women. Sadly, my mother was not as restrained.

This week has been a sad week for a number of reasons. We got a teary call from a woman whose brother had suffered false allegations from his wife in a toxic marriage breakup. He was robbed of his children as a result, and he was so brokenhearted he committed suicide. Sadly, we have personally heard dozens of such stories over the last 20 years.

The other sadness this week was the announcement of the result of the Johnny Depp case. The sadness was not so much the result, but that the case had to go to court for the truth to come out. When families litigate against each other, no one wins, least of all the litigants.

Thankfully my good friend Greg Andresen found some hope in the sad announcement. The One in Three media release said the following:

“The Depp case has helped raise awareness of male victims of family violence and should encourage many more men to speak up about their experience,” says Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher with the One in Three Campaign, Australia’s national campaign to raise awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family violence.

“The Depp case should not discourage victims of either sex from coming forward in the future. To the contrary it sends the message that there is a chance that perpetrators of either sex who falsely claim victimhood will have their lies exposed, thus discouraging such toxic behaviour in the future.”

One famous Australian study contrasted spouses’ accounts of episodes of violence by wives with those of their children and the wives’ mothers, and concluded that:

“… women’s allegations of DV were proven to be false. In most cases, the initial allegations of DV were modified considerably by them during the course of the study, particularly when they were faced with the accounts of their children and mothers, admitting in the end that they were neither victims of violence nor acting in self-defence.”

“This evidence and the Depp case highlight the injustice done to male victims by the domestic violence support system in Australia,” said Mr Andresen. “The experience of male victims of family violence is also ignored by many media outlets and when it is covered, they often fail to acknowledge it as family violence…”

The One in Three Campaign is calling upon the new Labor government, in the spirit of governing for all Australians, to review this policy with urgency. They will also meet with Catherine Fitzpatrick, Australia’s first National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner, once she starts her tenure on July 1st.

Members of the One in Three Facebook Community came forward with their experiences of injustice this week.

Amanda Sillars from the Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation said, “Too many people claim they are victims of DV when they are the perpetrator. They will often spread these falsehoods far and wide in the community and tell their stories confidently with emotion and detail. They can be believable to the untrained eye. We need to make these individuals and groups that support them accountable for the harm they cause, and the cost associated with trying to fight these false allegations.”

BJ said, “I went to a police station on Friday and asked to speak to a domestic violence liaison regarding my current order as a male victim. They said the officer only supports females.”

Lovework

Mother Teresa said, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Let us love our children and our families all the more after the sadness of the week. As we said last week, “Love is the greatest force in the universe.”

Yours for more Love,
Warwick Marsh

PS: We can confirm that Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures will be one of our keynote speakers at the Men’s Leadership Summit, 26 – 28 August 2022. We will announce all the speakers this week. Save the date now!

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Elina Fairytale.

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Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club – Stopping the Epidemic of Fatherless Shooters

Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club – Stopping the Epidemic of Fatherless Shooters

An ex-con has set up a fantastic initiative called Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club, aiming to prevent fatherlessness from harming the next generation. By getting dads involved with their children’s education, Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club improves the lives of both father and child.

The tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, along with the continuing body count from shootings in Chicago, Illinois, shines a spotlight on the urgency to answer the absent dad question.

Before addressing the alleged gun culture problem, what should be addressed is the societal and familial problems caused by absentee dads.

Unfortunately, the United States mid-term elections and political point-scoring over “gun culture” obscures the great elephant in the room: fatherlessness.

The Root

Study after study — even from my own experiences — tells of how an absentee father negatively impacts a child’s life.

It’s this reform of absenteeism — the abdicating and removal of the male role model from a child’s life — that is in need of correcting, long before any consideration should be given to gun law reform.

In an article titled “Fatherless Shooters,” the truth is revealed.

A fascinating fact has emerged in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting: 26 of the 27 deadliest mass shooters in American history all happened to share one thing in common… All but one of the 27 was raised without his biological father.”

Curbing fatherlessness needs to happen, one classroom at a time. One dad at a time. One heart at a time.

Tackling the Problem

This is exactly what father-of-six Joseph Williams is doing in South Chicago.

He went viral in December 2021 when the release of his first kids’ book, My Daddy is…, sparked greater interest in his day job.

Williams, who served a 9-month prison sentence for possession of a stolen car in his 20s, (now a dad and author), is also the founder and chief executive officer of the non-profit organisation, Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club.

Williams started MDFC in 2017 after volunteering for lunch duty at his children’s school. He then turned to reading to his kids in their classroom.

The children’s response sponsored an epiphany: Williams saw the positive impact dads can have on a child’s education.

It was from this experience that Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club was born.

His goal is simple: “to get fathers back involved in their children’s lives.”

Running through the details with the Chicago-Sun, Williams explained,

“I believe this program can possibly be something that can help curb gun violence; something that can help curb a lot of stuff that we’re seeing happening in communities again. I believe a male presence and having guidance makes a huge difference.”

Firsthand Experience

Championed as another Mr. Rogers, Williams knows the negative impacts of fatherlessness.

He told the Sun his own father was rarely around. This is why he has no intention of letting his kids be forced into growing up before their time, or putting on them ‘the trials and tribulations he had to deal with.’

The impacts of fatherlessness are a major motivator for his dads for kids program, and the reason why Williams is so keen to see it expand.

For Williams, Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club isn’t just for the children — it’s a great way to get dads off the street and back into living out their dad role in their children’s lives.

Speaking with the Obama Foundation’s Michael Strautmanis, Williams asserted,

“What I notice is that these men, they love their children. These children have [even] saved some of these men’s lives. My children saved my life. So, just to understand the impact and how it works together.”

Discussing just how far he wants to see the Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club program go, Williams stated,

“I think if we can eventually, one day, pay our fathers to come into the schools, I think it’d be even greater. We’ll be saving their lives, and we’ll be saving children’s lives.”

Active Fathering

According to the group’s Instagram page, Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club “was created to help get fathers actively involved in their children’s lives through mentoring and literacy.”

Joseph Williams and his team are a living example of dads pulling themselves out of distress, then inviting others to the same.

Williams’ success, much like that of the insanely cool initiative, Dads on Duty, shows that pro-men initiatives are the antidote to the plague of fatherlessness tearing at the fabric of Western society.

Few, if any, would disagree with the statement: literacy is a liberator.

As many have argued, mass shootings are a symptom of a much bigger problem.

If the diagnosis is fatherlessness, then the answer could be as simple as dads getting back to basics with their kids.

Thus, ending the absentee dad killing spree that tears families and society apart, by offering dads and their kids a better start.

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Originally published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Kampus Production.

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Father Stu: Marvellous Movie with a Fatherhood Theme

Father Stu: Marvellous Movie with a Fatherhood Theme

“Father Stu” is not a movie for the fainthearted, but with the true story of a man who overcame his trauma and his failures to become a solid spiritual father, it has an inspiring message for us all.

I go to movie theatres these days in fear and trembling. I just don’t know if I am going to like what I see. Sometimes it is like buying a ticket in a lottery that you know you are going to lose.

On one of our twice-weekly date nights, my wife suggested we go and see Father Stu. The fact that it was based on a true story encouraged me.

She had seen a great review in Movies Change People. I was not convinced, but I have become a true believer.

Father Stu certainly had a star-studded cast including Transformers star Mark Wahlberg, Passion of the Christ producer/actor Mel Gibson and Australia’s own Jacki Weaver.

Let me add one caveat. The language is very strong. If you have worked in the mining or building industry as I have, it will not be anything new to you. All around, it is a strong movie and not for the fainthearted.

Strong Hope

It is a movie about manhood and faith, with the underlying theme of fatherhood gone wrong and fatherhood gone right. Thankfully, there is hope for us all. Watch the trailer here.

The reactions from pre-screening by the Movies Change People team in Australia were amazing. Of the people who saw it, 92% of them said they would recommend it to a friend

“Amazing true story, well worth seeing.”

“RAW AMAZING WORTH SPREADING.”

“It’s a powerful, inspiring story that brought tears to my eyes.”

Powerful Story

Having seen Father Stu, I would say the same. Sadly, reviewers dismissed the movie in a predictably pathetic fashion. I searched high and low for an honest assessment of the film. Ron Cerabona from the Canberra times hit the middle ground with his 3-star review below.

“Cards on the table: I’m not a believer in any religion. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a well-done religious movie. I don’t play or enjoy watching sports, either, but there are good sports films.

Mark Wahlberg, who stars and produces, and Mel Gibson — who plays a major role and whose partner Rosalind Ross is credited as writer and director — are both devout Catholics with troubled pasts. It’s not surprising, then, that they would team up for a religious-themed biopic about a man who overcame many challenges — some his fault, some not — to become a priest.

Stuart Long (Wahlberg) hasn’t had much of a life in Helena, Montana. He and his mother Kathleen (Jacki Weaver) are estranged from his abusive, alcoholic father Bill (Gibson) – the couple split after Stu’s younger brother died as a child – and he’s a self-centred, foul-mouthed delinquent and a not very successful amateur boxer still fighting at an age where most men are retiring from the ring.

When medical issues prevent him from continuing to box, he decides to go to Hollywood to become an actor.

Kathleen opposes this, but Stu is a stubborn man, and off he goes.

He’s not very successful in Hollywood, either. One man offers help in exchange for sexual favours (hotly refused) but mostly Stu is stuck working in a supermarket.

One bright spot comes when he meets Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) and is instantly smitten.

Not only is Carmen wary of this stranger’s sudden infatuation but she’s a pious Catholic, a Sunday-School teacher not interested in a fling.

To win her over, nonbeliever Stu starts going to church and gets baptised…

Then comes a major life change. Stu is badly injured in a motorcycle accident that a stranger seemed to predict…

In fact, we see Stu’s plain-speaking sincerity can make connections where other, ostensibly more suitable candidates — like the patronising Jacob (Cody Fern) — cannot. But then there’s another test for Stu: he is diagnosed with a rare muscular disease and the prognosis is dire.

Although Ross has the onscreen credits for writing and directing, Gibson’s influence seems to loom large beyond his onscreen presence as a damaged man who finds a way to reconnect with both his (somewhat similar) son and his spirituality.

Gibson’s films as director often lay on the suffering — think The Passion of the Christ — and that’s a big part of this story. Stu’s physical, spiritual, and emotional pain are heavily emphasised…

As so often liberties have been taken with the truth for reasons of time and dramatic effect — for example, Bill is apparently depicted far more harshly than he really was, and Stu’s mother encouraged his Hollywood ambitions (presumably in real life she didn’t refer to Los Angeles as being “full of fascist hippies”). And Stu’s path to the priesthood was much longer.

During the end credits, there’s footage, photos and words from the real Father Stu — who died in 2014 at the age of 50 — and a cute if incongruous moment with Wahlberg and a child.

Father Stu is sincere and well-acted with some touching moments. It’s not perfect but better than many other movies about religion, even if, like me, you don’t subscribe to the theology or find the rationalisations for suffering very credible.”

Lovework

Father Stu is really a man’s movie and his struggle to become a man in the absence of a loving father.

The good news is love triumphs in the end, as it always does. Grab a few mates and go and see it if you are able. You won’t be disappointed.

Yours for the Power of Love,
Warwick Marsh

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First published at Dads4Kids. Image: The Sun.

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From Fatherlessness to Faith: Dysfunction with a New Start

From Fatherlessness to Faith: Dysfunction with a New Start

Despite the failings and traumas handed down from past generations, with the grace of God, we can break free of toxic cycles and build a far better future for our children. Those who grow up hurting from being fatherless can learn from our parents’ mistakes and develop into life-giving, dedicated fathers.

Like every single one of our five kids, wearing the dad hat was for me a cliched process of having to learn to crawl before I walked.

Once past the dizzy, surreal, “Gey, I’m actually a dad” phase, my life as a dad looked more like a traineeship than a masterclass.

Having little to no examples of what healthy fatherhood is, was, or what healthy fatherhood even looked like, every metaphorical hands-and-feet advance was a literal basic training moment.

Generational Trauma

For as far back as I have been able to go, the broader pattern of my family’s history is a continuous cycle of pain, separation, fatherlessness, divorce, and death.

As my tight-lipped late grandmother’s 83-year-old sister often states,
“Why do you want to know? There’s not much, if anything, there to celebrate.”

The “scrapbook” family album is a disfigured family tree, mangled by a century of dysfunction, enough to be the envy of goth poets like Edger Allen Poe when they were at their darkest.

There isn’t a whole lot to get excited about. This makes the few special examples worth cheering on, all the brighter.

Like my great-great-grandparents who, with five children, including a newborn, travelled from Scotland to Australia in a converted tramp steamer in 1912.

A great-great-grandfather who worked on locomotives on the Western Front during World War 1. He was sent home a nervous wreck, because trains can’t dodge falling artillery shells or shell damaged tracks.

Stories matter. Learning about our genesis helps us to learn from others. No matter how broken — sin-packed, or sin-impacted — their lives offer a wealth of knowledge, and, with it, motivation.

Honour Thy Mother and Father

When talking about parents and children, flawed father, husband and theologian Karl Barth defined the fifth commandment in the light of education.

He stated,

‘The willingness to learn is the honour which is required of the children in relation to their parents.’

For Barth, to honour our forebears is to learn from their instruction, steering new life away from their paths of destruction. We preserve the good, shear off the bad.

Not all suffering comes from God, but God works through all suffering.

Ever the Christian, Barth infers that the ‘light of grace’ can pierce even the darkest, or most shattered, cruel, cold and silent of disfigured family trees.

In Barth’s words,

‘The Fatherhood of God lends its meaning and value to human form.’

This is because,

‘No human father, but God alone is properly, truly, and primarily Father.’

The value of vocation is intricately entwined with the importance of stories.

Our hands and feet are charged to ‘imitate God’s action’: a genuine emulation forged by a healthy grasp of HIS-story, and with it, humility and honesty.

Crawling through my family history taught me the importance and the value of fatherhood as a vocation. I was born a father out of fatherlessness.

I was its raw recruit pioneering a way through the muck of past dysfunctional experiences. Its basic training taught me to be responsible for the life of a new family, creating a new history, alongside new memories, with new people, into newness of life.

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.

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