How fathers teach children to work hard and believe in God

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Here’s a good article for Father’s Day from Arthur Brooks in the radically leftist New York Times, of all places.

Excerpt:

The data confirm that hard work is correlated with well-being. The University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics polls thousands of American families, and its 2009 results show that people who feel good about themselves work more than those who don’t. It asks how often the respondents felt so sad that nothing could cheer them up. My analysis of the study showed that people who felt that way “none of the time” worked 10 percent more hours per week than those who felt that way “most of the time.” This holds true when we eliminate people who worked zero hours, so it is not merely that unemployed people are miserable. This doesn’t prove that extra work hours chase away sadness, but it weakens any argument that the cure for the blues is a French workweek.

So vocation is crucial to leading a satisfying life. Who teaches this truth to children? Many traditions emphasize the role of fathers. Jesus defended himself to the Pharisees for working on the Sabbath by saying, “my Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” And the Talmud instructs us, “For a man not to teach his son a trade or profession is equivalent to teaching him to steal.”

The best way for a father to teach this is by example. This explains why a child’s ability to grow up to be a productive adult is so strongly predicted by the presence of a working father in the home. The Princeton sociologist Sara McLanahan has for decades studied what happens to sons and daughters when their fathers are absent. She finds that after controlling for demographics, children in fatherless families are roughly twice as likely to drop out of high school as kids in intact homes. Even after controlling for student talent via standardized test scores, a sharp decline in grades and attendance persists. And young men who grow up without a father are 1.5 times more likely to be idle — that is, neither in the work force nor in school — than those with a father in the home. And this brings us to a particularly serious issue this Father’s Day: Our growing national jobs deficit. In 1953, just 14 percent of adult American men were neither working nor seeking work. Today, that rate has more than doubled, to 30 percent. And this doesn’t only reflect an aging population with more retired men: Just after World War II, 8 percent of noninstitutionalized males ages 25 to 54 were not working. Today, 17 percent of that same group of men are idle.

So fathers are important for teaching children to work, which is how they become independent and able to share with others in need. That’s valuable. And that was certainly true for me – my father took me to work all the time and on weekends even. And when I was in high school, he encouraged me to work in the summers and take a job in the evenings year-round. Looking back, this is definitely one the things that went right in my story.

But there’s more that fathers can do. Take a look at this statistical evidence on fathers and religious belief of children.

Excerpt:

In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.

If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.

If the father is non-practicing and mother regular, only 2 percent of children will become regular worshippers, and 37 percent will attend irregularly. Over 60 percent of their children will be lost completely to the church.

Let us look at the figures the other way round. What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Extraordinarily, the percentage of children becoming regular goes up from 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and to 44 percent with the non-practicing, as if loyalty to father’s commitment grows in proportion to mother’s laxity, indifference, or hostility.

[…]In short, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between a half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.

A non-practicing mother with a regular father will see a minimum of two-thirds of her children ending up at church. In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will see two-thirds of his children never darken the church door. If his wife is similarly negligent that figure rises to 80 percent!

The results are shocking, but they should not be surprising. They are about as politically incorrect as it is possible to be; but they simply confirm what psychologists, criminologists, educationalists, and traditional Christians know. You cannot buck the biology of the created order. Father’s influence, from the determination of a child’s sex by the implantation of his seed to the funerary rites surrounding his passing, is out of all proportion to his allotted, and severely diminished role, in Western liberal society.

Basically, anyone who doesn’t have a benevolent, involved father is going to have an enormously difficult time believing that moral boundaries set by an authority are for the benefit of the person who is being bounded. The best way to make moral boundaries stick is to see that they apply to the person making the boundaries as well – and that these moral boundaries are rational, evidentially-grounded and not arbitrary.

You can learn even more about the importance of fathers by looking at these statistics on fatherlessness.

2 thoughts on “How fathers teach children to work hard and believe in God”

  1. Amen! Fathers are so powerful, that even their absence has a profound impact, not just on their children, but on the community around them, on the economy, on crime rates, on faith.

    Work is vitally important to men’s well being, to their sense of self, perhaps relating back to their ability to provide, to feel as if they are making an impact on the world, sharing their talents with others? The only thing I would add there is that “work” doesn’t always have to be paid work, and who and what you are is not necessarily connected to what you do for a living or how great of a living you earn. I just say that because as the economy continues to go south, I think it’s vitally important that men find their identity and sense of worth in Christ, in their skills and talents, rather then in their paychecks. Many men also have a tendency to work themselves into multiple health problems and early grave, by failing to find some balance there.

    In the “olden days,” in my neck of the woods, “work” was also fishing, hunting, hiking, building things, activities we today seem to perceive as recreation, but they were both productive and pleasurable and really helped to contribute to men’s over all sense of well being.

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  2. What has the Marxist agenda to destroy the family accomplished??? The state is the ‘father’.

    Victimhood tournaments, anti-bullying as the new bullying, LBGT: taking offense to give offence, hate crime as thought crime, SJW’s: a cacophony of envy and rancour, anti-racism as a codeword for anti-white, microaggressions:– anything to make the STATE bully someone else to pay and obey without consent. Stop working, start complaining and look to the state. Fleecing the productive is a sure way to make the productive disappear or at least foster the parasitic mindset to steal, lie, coerce and destroy. Taxed on the money you earn, then taxed on savings, taxed on investments, taxed on tax. The only tax-free investments left: hookers and homemade beer.

    There’s never a problem that someone else shouldn’t be compelled to fix (taxpayers) and never a failure that more government won’t solve. . If you’re retired – more government is ever better, after all you won’t pay. Again a sure way to make MORE people ‘retire’ (ie STOP working) — and fast because only workers PAY, and the more educated, the more productive, the more sacrifices, stress, and responsibility you take on, the more you PAY.) That’s white privilege. See, I’m learning well!!!

    Government regulation and coercion is just insane. Why work??? WE have communism. The government control wages and incomes AFTER the fact with taxation. The government takes 50% of everything. If you work hard then it is simply given to someone else by force. Bureaucrats love regulation as it justifies and entrenches their power and income. If you have a business well by God do your best to hire NOBODY or you will find yourself working for your employees instead of the other way.

    This is backward, parasitic and Slavish thinking. Every time you work you feed the parasite. Every time you ‘do the right thing’ you enable others to continue exploiting your responsibility and sacrifices.

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