Five Kinds of Fathers

Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Everyone is marked, positively or negatively, by their earthly father. Although everyone’s family experience is unique, we have identified five general categories of fathers.

  1. Tragic dad—this father isn’t in the picture for some tragic reason (i.e., death, permanent debilitating medical problem).
  2. Terrible dad—this father is absent for no good reason (i.e., runs off either before or after kids are born, shows little to no interest in being a parent).
  3. Tough dad—this father is overbearing, dominating, and intimidating (i.e., threatens like a drill sergeant, pushes like a bad boss, or yells like an awful coach). The tough dad abuses his family.
  4. Tender dad—this father is kind, sweet, and nice but fails to protect his family (i.e., gets run over by tough guys, allows his kids to get bullied and pushed around, and watches his daughter end up with an abusive boyfriend because he won’t step in the middle). This family is often financially broke because strong guys beat weak dad in business. The tender dad lets other people abuse his family.
  5. Terrific dad—this dad isn’t perfect, but he is godly, relational, wise, healthy, present, and knows how to be both tough for the family and tender with the family (i.e., their dad provided for all of the family’s needs). Financially, he makes good money. Spiritually, he leads in the worship of God. Relationally, he is encouraging, warm, and connected. Socially, he nurtures healthy relationships with other families to provide community for his family. Humbly he owns his mistakes and apologizes when he is wrong.

How about you? What kind of father do you have? If you are a father, what kind of dad are you?

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