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“Daddy’s Home!”

importance of fathers My favorite part of the day: walking in the door at the end of a workday and having both of my boys run at me full blast, bounding into my arms with full confidence that I’ll catch them.

“Daddy’s home!”

Little arms around my neck, sweet kisses. Eager to tell me about their day. Seriously, does it get any better than that?

I am a blessed man.

While that may seem a bit Norman Rockwell to some of you, for me, it’s not only reality but it reveals a deeper, important truth in the lives of my sons. They don’t come running to me because they’re surprised I’m home.

They’re running to me because their expectations and their confidence that Daddy will be there have just been met. They can count on it. And I love giving them that assurance.

Father and son in Nicaragua

I wish every child could live with that same confidence that Daddy is coming home at the end of the day. But the truth is, throughout much of the developing world, little boys and girls never get to run into Daddy’s arms.

I’ve traveled to well over a dozen developing countries in the past eight years and one thing that seems to be common in almost all of them is that so many fathers are missing from the picture. Gone.

And one of the most common reasons men abandon their families in the developing world: shame.

Poverty strips away dignity. It eats away a man’s self-worth. In cultures where the man is expected to be the provider, the shame of not being able to put food on the table can be overwhelming. So they leave.

Church, we need to lift these men up. We need ministries that teach men that their worth is much more than how much is in their paycheck.

At Compassion, we work with young men to teach them the value of family. We help them learn skills so they are employable when they get older. We teach them that being a dad is about much more than being a father. We teach them scripture-based principles.

Father and daughter in the Philippines

But we also need the Church to work with adult men throughout the developing world. Restoring dignity. Building that confidence in little ones that Daddy will be there at the end of the day.

This Father’s Day, please pray for the millions of men who work hard all day for pocket change. Pray for the men who come home sweaty, dirty and stinky from a long day of toiling just to put a little bit of food on the table.

And pray for the men who are missing hugs, kisses and the joy of catching their son or daughter in their arms at the end of the day because shame has driven them away from home.