The Significance of Fatherhood in the Lives of our Children

06-24-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi


This past week we celebrated Fathers’ Day during which we honored and prayed for our fathers both biological and spiritual. Thank you for your prayers. Although I had a strong urge to focus my homily on fatherhood, the liturgical impulse to preach on the readings of the day prevailed. In this short article, therefore, allow me to brie$y share some of my thoughts on the significance of fatherhood in the lives of our children. I deem this to be very important because our fathers significantly shape how we handle responsibilities and challenges and view life in general in our adult lives. The way our fathers treat our mothers for instance, will determine how the boys will treat women in general and their wives in particular, as adults.

The interaction between Jesus and his father provide us with the best example here. In the case of Jesus for instance, we notice that shortly before his public ministry, at the baptism by John in the Jordan river, a voice came from heaven saying: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him” (Luke 9:35) and also at the transfiguration, “…a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is My beloved Son. Listen to him!’ ” (Mark 9:7). In all of these, the father made it clear that he was father from whom the Son always draws his inspiration, example, and strength. Yes, Jesus was God. Yes, he was eternal like the Father and the Holy Spirit, and yet, during his ministry, he kept this in mind. He always consulted with his Father. Often, and actually always, before taking a major step in his ministry or after a hard day’s work, he always withdrew to a lonely place to pray to his Father. His Father was his role model and mentor!

In our present society where our children are constantly attacked from all sides by destructive forces from the secular world, similarly, the importance of having fathers who are role models and mentors to their children cannot be overemphasized. Yes, you fathers are called and ordained to be present most especially at the very critical moments of the lives of your children because your presence can never be replaced by anybody or anything else. That is precisely why I believe, even at mundane levels, you endeavor to attend all the coaching, rehearsals, proms, and games of your children. This is not only because it is very important to you, but mainly because your presence always means a lot to your children and contributes significantly to their success. Hence, my heart went out in compassion this past week to the many children today, who grow up without their fathers either through death or divorce or single motherhood. I know from personal experience what this means having lost my own father at the age of five.

So, if that is the case for worldly things, how much more is this a necessary responsibility, for the spiritual growth of your children, dear fathers? What can be more valuable than the spiritual health of your children? What can be more important than getting your children to heaven? Remember, your children look up especially to you fathers, for examples of how to embrace and practice their faith. If you demonstrate by your example, that going to Church, saying grace before meals, doing adoration, reading the Bible, or saying the rosary means a lot to you, they too will take those as important in their lives. How many of you dear fathers at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish and school, provide leadership and presence in the spiritual life and growth of your children in your home? Remember, your children will be as good or bad in their spiritual lives as you are because children most times mirror the kind of family they come from. If it is a family where God takes the first place, you will find happy, friendly, polite, and God-fearing children. I see this all the time even here in our own parish and school. Show me your child and I will tell you what kind of family he/she comes from! So, Fathers, do your job!