Who's Your Daddy?

Everyone needs an example, right? “Say, See, and Do” is a common learning strategy used by some educators across the country. This practice is founded on the idea of following the leader. The notion of an example holds so much weight for us as people, even more so as minority men. As a matter of fact, everyone could use it as a point of reference. Needless to say, having a good example before us is vital to our development.

So, since we are talking about examples, let’s talk about fathers. Fathers represent the first model of a man for boys. It is expected that a male child will imitate or mimic the behavior that was displayed before him. This obviously works whether the situation is positive or negative. What is role modeled before us affects our preferences and decisions. Now place this in a context of moral accountability. If a child grows up without seeing his father display a relationship with God before him, it is plausible that the child will develop a similar preference. Of course, there’s a possibility that the child can cultivate a spiritual relationship on his own, independent of what he saw growing up. But I would like to think that those chances are slim. I read a study some years ago that highlighted the fact that black churches are 25% male versus 75% female. Now consider this: a reported 74% of black children grow up in single parent homes where predominately the single parent is typically a woman. Stands to reason why more black males don’t go to church or struggle to identify with a male figure of God seeing that their own relationship with their natural father is strained.

I am a Christian. To that end, I’m a huge advocate for cultivating the spiritual man inside of me. By developing a personally active relationship with God (who I regard as my spiritual father), I am strengthening my moral accountability. This in turn encourages me to live ethically, leading me ideally to make the right decisions in life. Being a Christian is a lifestyle. Because of my spiritual stance there are certain ideologies that I strive to uphold. Namely for me, that’s adhering to the principles of the Bible. This is what helps keep me grounded in life.

Consider this: How do I tie a necktie properly if I’ve never been taught? How will I learn to shave correctly if I’ve never witnessed anyone do it? Do catch my drift? As time has it, you will learn some things along the way, whether right or wrong. Like plants, we all grow, but the question is will how we grow?  My point is – not knowing how to maintain a relationship will affect you.  In the case, I’m referring to a spiritual one rather than a natural one.

I believe that a lot of men are affected on the inside because they don’t know how to have a meaningful relationship with God. Unfortunately, these men seldom cry, lack compassion, show little empathy, usually become bitter, often become angry, in addition to being cold and alone internally. I attribute this to the possibility that they didn’t see very many good examples of godly men. Maybe they didn’t know any men who prayed or read their Bibles regularly. Maybe they didn’t know any men who attempted daily to live out the principles of Christ. Maybe they saw some bad examples that turned them off to the idea of being a Christian male. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that there is a difference in a man whose heart is filled with joy, has peace of mind, lives with purpose, shows love to many and is truly genuinely happy versus a man who doesn’t know God in his heart.

Similar to how it’s important to know who your natural father is, I see it as just as important to know who your spiritual father is. Now understandably, some may not share the same beliefs in God as I do. I respect that. But for those that do, or are open to the idea, I think it’s something to be said for such a meaningful bond. The way you engage God starts with believing who he says he is, the next step is prayer or communicating with him.  Also meditating and studying his word, The Bible is an important step in getting to know Him.  And lastly, intentionally living out the principles of Christ. These basic practices performed daily make up the foundation to building a meaningful relationship with God. Of course, there is more to this relationship outside of these basic steps. But whatever else you need to know will come organically as a result of your efforts to getting to know God. It is said that “If you take one step toward him, he will take two toward you”. I am proud to say I know who my (heavenly) father is, even though I don’t know my biological father. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if not for God’s impact on my life. I firmly believe that not only having a personal relationship with God has been beneficial to my life, but it can also be beneficial to yours as well.

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