In a word, fatherhood is a vocation. The Latin equivalent is vocare — “to call.”
Dad-life is therefore a “calling.” It’s much more than just another job.
For sure, fatherhood is full-time work.
We’re required to be on the scene until the good Lord retires us.
This will mean being waste-deep in the complexity of relationships. Wading through life’s trenches carrying responsibility and commitment, regardless of the hour or circumstance.
Just like a career, dad-life can be inconvenient, chaotic, stressful, and exhausting.
The big difference is that men can be replaced at work. They cannot be replaced in the home.
For the 16th-century rebel monk, Martin Luther, the idea of vocation was a game-changer. Vocation elevated the ordinary to the extraordinary.
For the late medieval monk, vocation was sacred ground, not a soul-sucking chore.
As a vocation, fatherhood’s true home is lived out in the reflection of the Father-heart of the Creator.
Fatherhood, Luther said, was intrinsic to the vocation of family. Luther understood that the lifeblood of community ran through the life-giving vein of vocation.
Beyond the grind. Behind the cubicles, big rigs, and paycheques, men are not only workers, they’re fathers, husbands, siblings, and sons.
‘the purpose of vocation is to love and serve one’s neighbour…’
For the son, his neighbours are his parents.
For the brother, his neighbour are his siblings.
For the son and brother, now a husband, his neighbour is his wife.
For the husband, now a father, his neighbour is his child.
Even if the task in front of us is boredom personified, we’re called to take an interest, and be attentive. Part of protecting. Part of nurture. Part of providing for those gifted into our lives.
Veith gives this example,
‘During the pregnancy the father best serves the child by serving the mother. The vocations of husband and father overlap to affect the child immediately, as well as work together to prepare a place for that child.’
‘With his wife, the husband is positioned to put another before himself, and to make sacrifices. He first bears the intimacy of authority with his wife. In parenthood, his authority and care is broadened to serve his children.’
‘When there is no father present, the family struggles,’ Veith asserts.
For instance, ‘the absence of a father increases the likelihood of child poverty by 700 percent.’
Citing a series of studies, he notes that 87 percent of prisoners are from single-parent families.
While not all ‘fatherless children end up in prison… without of father’s example, the lack of a father hinders the mental and social development.’
Fatherlessness has a deep impact on kids. More so on young men and their future families.
According to Veith, ‘boys crave a masculine presence in their lives so much that they revert to what psychologists call “hypermasculinity.”
Boys ‘adopt the macho stereotype of being physically aggressive, emotionally cold, and brutal towards women.’
Parents don’t have the luxury of kings and queens.
We can’t abdicate our office, its cares, commitments and responsibilities, without ripping apart lives with our absence.
Unless the good Lord calls us off the field, we’re called to remain in the game.
It’s a sober truth Christopher Nolan draws out in his trilogy adaptation of the fictional life of D.C Comics’ Bruce Wayne.
Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.
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