“Most of our families are starving for fathers, even if Dad is around, and there’s a huge cost to our children and our society because of it,” says Douglas Wilson, author of Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead their Families. He addresses some fundamental questions. What is fatherhood? Where did it come from? What does it mean? What is it for? Who cares?
True fatherhood begins with worship and finds its meaning in our heavenly Father according to Wilson, and this belief is the basis of the entire book.
As one can expect from Douglas Wilson, Father Hunger is full of illuminating concepts. Not only are men assigned to the father role of provider and protector, but fatherhood is basic to all human relationships. Fathers are much more important than they believe themselves to be, and this book goes a long ways towards showing them just how crucial they are. Atheism, education, economics, poverty, crime, politics, feminism, and America’s weight problem are all related to fathers. Missing fathers. Distant fathers. Mistaken fathers. Uncertain fathers. All contribute to the father ache that is a “jagged hole in this generation’s soul.”
God our Father is central to life, faith, fatherhood, and society. Understanding what He says about Himself (as in a tip-of-the- iceberg analysis of the book of John), worshipping Him, and living for Him are fundamental to curing our culture’s father hunger. This is true for men who are fathers as well as for those who miss their fathers. It is also the key to preventing more father hunger.
There’s a lot here for fathers to learn. There’s a lot for mothers, pastors, politicians, sons, and daughters to learn, too. And it all centers around God our Father who ‘calls men to love and lead their families.’
Do note that Wilson doesn’t leave fathers in despair over their high calling and dismal failures. He encourages them to find wisdom and understanding from God. He reminds them that God is generous, that we must all focus on ‘being before doing’, and that ‘a father should be a father in the presence of God first’ before he sets out to change his family.
This is one of the most important books I’ve reviewed in the past year. If read, remembered, and applied, it would lead to dramatic and life-giving change in individuals, families, and society. I highly recommend Father Hunger to all Christian families. Non-Christians could benefit, too, but they would need to change some of their fundamental beliefs.
For women who struggle with this issue in their own families, I have reviewed two wise, encouraging, and practical resources, Married Mom, Solo Parent and The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing her Husband.