We all know that fathers have an impact on their children. But what is the impact and how do fathers express it? This was actually researched by Drs. Peter Gray and Kermyt Anderson. Here are some of the findings from a study they published in October of 2015:
- In the U.S., having no father listed on the birth certificate increases the odds of infant mortality.
- As children grow, having a father who is present and engaged with his children positively impacts their social competence, IQ and education.
- On the other hand, when fathers are absence, their children have an increased risk of dropping out of school, lower educational attainment, poorer physical and mental health, and more behavioral problems.1
Notice that the impact is positive when the father is present and engaged. What we should be asking is “what does engaged mean?”
It reminds me of the story of Charles Francis Adams. One day he wrote in his diary the following: “Went fishing with my son today–a day wasted.” On the very same day, his son wrote this in his diary: “Went fishing with my father–the most wonderful day of my life!”2
I want to encourage the fathers listening to spend time with your children today. Don’t be like Charles Adams who considered it a waste of time. You have a tremendous influence on your child’s life and development.
- Peter B. Gray, PhD, Kermyt G. Anderson, PhD, “The Impact of Fathers on Children,” Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development, October 2015, https://www.child-encyclopedia.com/father-paternity/according-experts/impact-fathers-children.
- “Father,” Sermon Illustrations, http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/father.htm, quoting Silas Shotwell, in Homemade, September, 1987.
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