The truth about real dads

What can we say about fathers?

Fatherhood….our theme at #realman for this month. And on the 19th of June the world celebrates fathers with their own special day. It’s probably not possible to find a topic relating to fathers or fatherhood that hasn’t already been written about, extensively, on the internet or in books. And as we launch our theme of fatherhood this month, it would be easy to write one of those ‘Here’s 5 tips for being a better dad’, or ‘10 awesome things for dad’s to do with their kids.’, or ‘How to parent a step child.’ articles.

Now, don’t get us wrong, those articles definitely have their place and we’ll share a few good ones with you this month, along with some lol worthy videos on ‘How to DAD’. But as we kick off a month talking about and celebrating fatherhood, we thought we would draw on the story of Marius Brown from South Africa, who just ran 1,870 km from Cape Town to Durban to raise awareness about absent fathers (nice one!), to highlight the 4 areas that we try to cover with our content at #realman: inspire, challenge, learn and testimony.

Check out Marius’ story here.

Inspire

Anyone who can run 1,870 km and cross a whole country is pretty inspiring, regardless of why they do it, so hats off to Marius. He had a goal and he endured and he accomplished it. Oh, and by the way, when he arrived in Durban, he ran a marathon the following day!

The article draws a relevant parallel between running and parenting too – “Parenting requires stamina and Marius has the ability to apply his stamina for running towards being an active parent.” This is so true – being an active, involved father, no matter what your family circumstances are, requires stamina – often a lot of it!

true dads

Marcus is just one example of a dad and a man who is inspiring. And we’ll keep bringing you those inspirational stories, articles and quotes – not so you can do what they do (cause let’s face it, we’re definitely not all cut out to run 1,870km!), but so you know that there are ordinary people out there being the best fathers and men they can be.

But where else do you draw your inspiration as a father? Is it from your own father or uncle, is it from your pastor, or a friend, or that guy who’s a bit further down the fatherhood journey than you are. And do you look to God, our perfect, eternal Father, to inspire you in your role as an earthly father? Because let’s face it, we can all do with a bit of inspiring at times.

Challenge

The article highlights that “32.73% of South African children have absent fathers, while 32.34% of them live with both parents and 2.27% have single fathers….. children who grow up without fathers are less likely to finish school, and are more likely to grow up in poverty and be involved in crime…..”. Now, we’ve all heard the statistics and outcomes of absent before, but the point of the article and the point of what we share at #realman is not to pile on the guilt for those who either don’t live with their kids full time, or do live with their kids but are absent in different ways (e.g. they work a lot or they don’t interact with their kids).

But we don’t want to shy away from challenging men to think about how they’re doing in their role as fathers and if they realise there’s things they can or need to change, to do that. And sometimes we need to hear the hard truths before we are kick started into action.

The article says that Marius, who divorced his wife in 2003, realised about 5 years later that he “had to reposition himself as a father”. He ran his first city-to-city run in 2014 to win back his children’s trust. “It had brought us to a point where we could get to know one another again.”

real men real dadsMaybe his story resonates with you and seeing him step up and do something really positive for his relationship with his kids will challenge you to do the same. And here at #realman we’re cheering for you, because we know you can be the champion you were created to be!

 

 

Learn

We all know the sayings…. ‘you learn something new every day’ and ‘once you stop learning you start dying’ (that one’s Einstein and he was pretty smart!). If we’re humble enough to admit it, we all still have a lot to learn, and we have a lot we can learn from each other. “During his recent run, Brown said he stopped in 43 towns along the way to interact with police and communities, discussing the issue around absent fathers.” So he not only ran for his kids, but he ran because he had something to share with others and he wanted them to be better informed, and to see change in his community and nation as a result.

Do you have something to share with other fathers? Your experience as a dad, stuff you have learnt, mistakes you have made (and hopefully corrected!)? Then share it! Use the #realman Facebook page, write for us or meet with other men in your church or community and start learning from each other and from others. None of us will ever be perfect, just like Marius hasn’t got it all right all the time, but hey, he’s growing and learning and he’s going to some pretty amazing lengths to share that with others!

Testimony

At #realman we want to bring you stories of men who are just ordinary men, living life, following hard after Jesus, and being dads, uncles, step dads, granddads etc. We love sharing the stories of guys like Marius, who’s story is a real testimony of overcoming the challenges that come with divorce, actively being a part of his kid’s lives, and then challenging, inspiring and encouraging others to do the same.

But perhaps the best testimonies of all, and the ones we’d love to hear from you, are the ones that point to the best Father of all. The ones that show us that without his saving grace, love and the work of the Holy Spirit, we could never be the men and father’s he’s created us to be.

So fathers, we celebrate you and we hope that this month you are inspired and challenged and maybe you learn a thing or two that will help you along the journey and adventure that is being a dad!