Some of us have been blessed with tremendous models of what fatherhood was always meant to be: a reflection of our relationship with our Father in heaven.
But what do we say to the people in our churches and our communities who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by the man who was appointed by God to be their earthly provider and protector? Today, more kids than ever live without the man Father’s Day calls them to honor. According to James Merritt, 43 percent of American kids today live in a home without their biological father. For these people, referring to God as a father either forces them to identify their relationship with God with an earthly model they never had (thus, forcing them to reflect on what a father is conceptually supposed to be), or it compares God to someone they’ve been hurt by, and perhaps, someone who has been entirely absent from their life.
Last month, we interviewed John Sowers, founder of The Mentoring Project. Sowers has made it his mission to train mentors to fill the void left by absent fathers. The Mentoring Project equips mentors with the wisdom and resources they need to step into the lives of fatherless youths.
Last year, The Mentoring Project launched a Father’s Day campaign to change the way we approach honoring our dads: “Don’t Buy the Tie.” The idea? Instead of another new razor, a tie, or other “traditional” Father’s Day gifts, The Mentoring Project encourages people to honor their dads by perpetuating a legacy of positive mentors.
See how you can honor your father and give someone the gift of a mentor this Father’s Day:
More kids than ever are left to grow up without fathers—but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a father figure that strives to reflect God’s love for them. When you support “Don’t Buy the Tie,” The Mentoring Project sends your father a special card and a copy of John Sowers’ new book, The Heroic Path: In Search of the Masculine Heart. As you reflect on the ways your dad has shaped you into who you are today, consider giving a Father’s Day gift that reaches further.
You can connect with The Mentoring Project at TheMentoringProject.org, or reach them on Twitter @tmproject. You can also check out John Sowers’ book Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story to learn more about how the absence of fatherhood affects families—get your copy today.