Back in the 1950s and 60s there was a popular television show called “Father Knows Best.” In this show, Robert Young played the role of Jim Anderson, the father in the show’s Anderson family.
Wikipedia characterizes the Jim Anderson role as “that of a thoughtful father who offered sage advice whenever one (or more) of his children had a problem. Jim was a salesman and manager of the General Insurance Company in Springfield, while Margaret was a housewife.” A to the Anderson family, “One history of the series characterized the Andersons as ’truly an idealized family, the sort that viewers could relate to and emulate."
While today there is a diversity of thought even among Christians as to what the “idealized family” ought to look like, there is no question that few positive role models of either fathers or families exist on television today. Whereas many of us grew up with shows like Family Ties, Growing Pains, and The Cosby Show, these types of shows are long gone.
Furthermore, a modern day show entitled “Father Knows Best” would be a satirical punchline, for fathers/dads are portrayed today on television as lazy oafs and “not so bright” buffoons. The idea that “Father Knows Best” is utterly foreign and laughable in today’s society. And for much of recent decades, the role of fathers in children’s lives was written off as relatively unimportant. In custody battles it went almost without question that children should go with their mothers, rather than considering both parents equally. As Rodney Dangerfield would say, “Fathers don’t get no respect.”
This modern day view of fathers is in stark contrast to both historical and biblical views of fatherhood. Human fathers, while not perfect, are to be honored (Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16; Eph. 6:2), as is our father in heaven (Mt. 6:9f). Fathers for all that you do, we honor you this Father's Day!
Why do you think that fathers are so little honored today? How can we show more honor and respect to fathers?
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Dr. James Nored (Doctor of Ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a preacher, evangelist, church consultant, writer, and missional leader located in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
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