Fathers have many responsibilities towards their children. The foremost is to call them to adulthood. By adulthood I will further clarify by defining this as the ability of a person to take responsibility for their actions, care for themselves, and to assume the role as a mentor to others. Fathers undertake this task in many ways, since fathers and their children are each unique in personality and temperament. Looking at the headlines today, one can see the effects of a world where fatherhood was neglected or neutered by over feminization for a generation.
The first and foremost venue to raise a child into adulthood is the home. In the home a father can, and should demonstrate the agape and friendship needed to make a marriage thrive through the many challenges life throws our way. When a child sees the toil we go through, and many forms of love needed to keep this vital relationship alive, they will be better prepared to be a spouse themselves. Logically, this also provides proper formation for our religious as well to serve the families placed in their care.
Other outside venues should serve to enhance those homebound lessons. You can use sports, camping, youth groups, lego clubs or an organization like Blue Knights clubs to reinforce those internal values. The key to successful use of these other venues will be how you as a Father keep Christ in the center, and make a child move towards the three goals of adulthood mentioned above.
I believe a key ingredient to raising a child in the Western tradition is the inclusion of chivalry in all we fathers do, and expect of our children. Chivalry is in no way an outdated concept for men or women. It actually puts in place a set of guidelines to create peaceful order amongst people, without a need for governmental intervention in all human relationships.
Chivalry sets us all under the kingship of God. Christians know all our works here on earth will receive judgement at the end of our lives, and determine our eternal home. This provides vital aspect of accountability lacking in modernism. It also conforms with the teachings of the Catholic faith we seek to instill into our children’s lives.
Once we assume we are under the kingship of God, everything else starts falling in place. We respect our elders and mentors. We assume responsibility for our personal care, and seek not to burden others with our poor or slothful decisions. We serve at the feet of those who teach us, and serve those placed in our care when posted to leadership positions. We respect our bodies, and keep them pure to fulfill our adult vocation. We respect the opposite sex, and marvel in the ways our complementary natures build the kingdom of God on earth better than one alone.
As fathers we seek to move our children towards these principles of life. Chivalrous fathers do not make excuses, or blame others for our personal or children’s failures to reach ideal behavior. Instead of complaining, we work towards righting the wrong or finding the cause of a problem. Chivalrous fathers also do not run from their duties, they embrace them. We use the marvelous gifts of the Holy Mother Church to obtain spiritual forgiveness, guidance, and the strengthening fortification of Eucharist. When we see a need of a youngster who is without a chivalric example in life, we provide it.
Fathers have a Knightly call. Fathers and men who respond to this call can do a great deal to help put Godly order back into the world. In this author’s opinion, it might be a great way to help the world our one Knight at a time.