This article was interesting. I agree with the writer on some fronts. He seems to be referring to religion as opposed to spirituality though. What are your thoughts?
Does Being Spiritual Make Men Better Dads? by Pete Saunders
“I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children. I WILL love them, protect them, and serve them…” So starts the resolution, a promise made by a group of fathers in the movie, Courageous. This movie, as well as evidence scattered throughout scholarly research show that religion promotes and strengthens responsible fathering. I have also had the good fortune of interacting with a few fathers with diverse religious beliefs and practices. Despite their differences in belief, particularly about how and when God should be worshipped, it is quite clear that many of these men rely on spirituality for providence, direction, and family and child rearing guidance. These research findings and personal experiences are evidence enough that spiritual men make better fathers.
As a son, I have experienced firsthand the positive effects of religion and a strong spiritual life. My father, who abandoned my mother and me before I was born, later found God and asked me, as well as his other seven children, for forgiveness. He and I speak weekly. He is a good man. I have gotten to love and respect this man, who now lives his life based on spiritual values and principles. My experience, coupled with research, have proven that religion (i.e., a covenant faith community with teachings and narratives that enhance spirituality and encourage morality) is the most powerful, meaningful, and sustained influence for encouraging men to be fully involved in children’s lives.
Here are three reasons why this is so:
- Religion strengthens marriage, which fosters responsible fathering. Many religions teach that marriage is the right context to have and raise children. This approach to family by these religious groups is backed by scientific research, which proves that children do better when they live with both parents, who love, protect, and provide for them. Research also shows that happily married men, who are supported by their wives, are more involved and engaged with their children.
- Religious beliefs and practices foster responsible fathering. Research, and personal experience, shows that religious beliefs and practices influence how fathers cope, the perspective they take, the way they experience their fathering, and help fathers stay meaningfully involved with their children, including their children with special needs. Religion, whether through the teachings of Buddha, Moses, Paul, Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, makes the point that God places a high value on families. Men, who are often seen as the leader of their families, are therefore encouraged to serve God by serving their families.
- Religious communities foster responsible fathering. Whether fathers worship in a mosque, a cathedral, or a synagogue, they will often receive a lot of support and encouragement to be responsible to their families and children. These communities of faith view and accept fathers as being critical to the overall development of children.
If a father sincerely believes that God has given him a sacred duty to care for, protect and provide for, and teach and bless his child, then his fathering is approached as service to God, not merely fulfilling a social role devised by human beings. In other words, for truly spiritual fathers, it is their love for, and obedience to God that keep them committed to their children, especially when there are so many barriers to positive fatherhood. These fathers persist because they know they are answerable to God, not their child’s mother, not their government and social agencies, not their child’s school, not even themselves, or their child, but to God.