A Father’s Day Reflection, 2022 | President’s Blog

June 17, 2022

“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:2-4

This Sunday, many of us will pause to celebrate Father’s Day. As both a son and a dad, this day has great meaning for me. My father has played a major role in my life and development, as a child and as an adult. As an adult, I recognize how blessed I have been to have him as a constant presence in my life. Growing up, my father was always there. He did not miss a milestone. From helping me to prepare for a test to teaching me to ride a bike and throw a football, he has encouraged me and supported me in everything I have attempted. I am thankful.

Now, as a father myself, I try to emulate so much of what I experienced growing up. I want to be present for my daughter as much as I possibly can. That includes making it to her athletic events, recitals and performances, but even more important for me is driving her to school in the mornings, surprising her with a school pick-up every once in a while, playtime at home, vacations together and the father/daughter chats where she takes us to topics I have never before contemplated.

I further recognize that, as a Christian father, I have particular responsibilities. Yes, I am to be present, loving and caring, but the scriptures also direct me very clearly, as her father, to “bring [her] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I take that seriously. That means I (along with her mother) am responsible for making sure she not only is in church but is learning about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and growing in her identity in Christ. I am responsible for modeling that for her.

I decided early on that I wanted to have daily prayer time with my daughter. It is important to me that she knows, first, that her daddy prays and believes in the power of prayer and also that he continually prays for her specifically. I don’t want her to have to look any further than her father to see what a God-fearing man who loves Jesus looks like. Of course, I fall short and make mistakes, but I get back up again. I apologize for my mistakes. I repent of my sin. And I believe it is as important for her to see my missteps and my growth as a Christian as it is for her to see my triumphs. I am thankful that I am not the only Christian man my daughter gets to see and be loved by, but as her father, I am the primary. That’s my job.

I am thankful for our annual Father’s Day celebrations, not because I want to be showered with praise and gifts, but because I know from experience how important fathers are.

Kids need fathers, whether those fathers are biological, by law or by love. Whether girls or boys, children want and need to experience the love of fathers. They want and need to see what manhood looks like up close and personal. Reading and hearing about it is one thing. Experiencing it for themselves and seeing it modeled without filters is something different.

We do know, however, that many children do not have the opportunity to be loved and cared for by a Christian father—or any earthly father at all. Sometimes, this happens due to the death of a father. Other times, it happens because men have failed to step up to be the fathers God expects us to be. In such cases, there are so many mothers who do an incredible job of raising their children. Most if not all of us know, or have experienced, single mothers who have raised children to be remarkable men and women. We honor and respect the often-heroic efforts of single mothers who have done so much and sacrificed so much to raise their children. But that does not negate the truth that children want and need the love and care of fathers.

President Lewis with his daughter giving him a hug.

Fathers are not expendable. God’s plan and design is not that fathers would or should come and go—that they could be present or not. Too often, the presence of men acting as fathers to their children is seen as extraordinary rather than expected or common. The absence of so many men as fathers has had and continues to have enormously detrimental impact on families, communities, our nation and the church. Even while recognizing that the challenges of life result in families having different compositions, we must again in our communities normalize men being present and active in their children’s lives as fathers and, in the church, expect and normalize men who are active participants in “bringing their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

As Houghton’s president, I want our young men to be loved, nurtured and supported in a manner that leads to their living as Godly men, many of whom will become fathers. For those who do become fathers, my prayer is that they will model for their children, families, churches and communities what it looks like to love and serve the Lord while loving, nurturing, and praying with and for their children.

To the men who are blessed to have the title of father or to serve as father figures, happy Father’s Day. We love you and cherish you, and we honor you, today and always.

President Wayne D. Lewis Jr.

About the Author

With 20 years of experience in education, higher education leadership is a calling for Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., President of Houghton University. He is recognized as being a champion for students; focusing on improving educational access, opportunities and experiences for students, including those who have historically been underserved.

Read More about President Lewis