Something has dramatically changed in the value system of Americans today. Fathers are increasingly absent from the home, and children are being raised in a fatherless society.
A recent study by the National Center for Fathering has revealed that 72.2 percent of Americans agree that the most significant family or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father from the home. Why do they so strongly agree? It's because nearly 40 percent of the children in this country today live in a home without their fathers. That's approximately 27 million children living apart from their biological fathers. What is more, 56.5 percent of Americans 18 and older say that fathers today spend less time with their children than their fathers did. And one result is that over half of Americans believe that most people have unresolved problems with their fathers.
What this means is that we are experiencing a cultural shift of gigantic proportions. Fatherlessness is not just an inconvenient anomaly, or a departure from the norm; it is a cataclysmic cultural deviation that is having an incredibly negative impact on children which will be felt for generations.
The National Center for Fathering has discovered that one way to counter this downward slide is to teach men fathering behaviors in small groups. This program, called the Dads of Destiny Small Group Program, is designed to equip and disciple men to become better fathers. It is a challenging program that does the following:
Participants in the Dads of Destiny program take the National Center for Fathering's 138-question Personal Fathering Profile. This computer-scored interactive assessment tool helps men understand both their fathering strengths and weaknesses and provides a reference point to set goals for improvement. Then they learn how to transform their weak areas into strengths.
The fathers then go through a systematic training program that lasts 12 weeks. This includes required reading on fatherhood topics and regular homework. The homework is brief but very engaging, and includes interaction and activities with family members as well as Bible study and written responses to questions. Participants memorize highly relevant Scripture passage every week. They are also strongly encouraged to pray for every member of their family and every member of their small group each day. At times, participants are challenged to fast on behalf of their families.
The Dads of Destiny program is designed to expand, so that all participants can be future leaders without having to attend a Dads of Destiny training seminar (as long as they work under the supervision of the originally trained leader.) This ministry can multiply rapidly and be used as an outreach and assimilation tool for the church.
To use the Dads of Destiny materials initial leaders must go through a training session that equips them to use the Personal Fathering Profile and to facilitate a small group using the Foundations In Fathering Curriculum. These are held in 12 or more locations around the country every year.
OK … But does it really work?
The small group makes this training deeply personal and transformational. Fathers learn skills but are held accountable for the application of those skills in their families. The deep relationships in the group demand that the father is honest, real and diligent in his role as a father.
Listen to what some participants have said:
"This course is not for wimps. But what I learned will last a lifetime."
- Tim, father of four
"This is one of the most challenging studies I have ever been a part of, and it has by far been the most rewarding. There have been more real positive changes in my life from this than any other study I have ever been in."
- Eric father of two
"As a senior pastor of a growing congregation, I am flooded with a deluge of options for small group studies. But from personal experience, I can tell you the Dads of Destiny program delivers."
- Steve -Senior Pastor, father of two
For more information on the Dads of Destiny Small group program, contact Dr. Bill Beahm, Vice President of Education,
National Center for Fathering at firstname.lastname@example.org.