Even if you can’t be a real dad, you can be one of several fatherly roles to the next generation.
The drive to be a male role model for younger generations can be strong in men. I often dream of having my own apprentice, Luke Skywalker, or Minion follow me around…to leave a legacy by imparting knowledge for future generations. That calling of man to be fruitful still echoes in every facet of man’s heart.
God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…'” (Genesis 1:28a NASB)
But what of those men that are unable to be fathers?
What about those men unable to see their children because of marriage breakdowns?
What of the men who are single and feel forever alone?
The longing to leave a legacy is real and it doesn’t go away. It goes to the core calling of men to go out into the world and be fruitful in all things.
If you can’t be a father, what other fatherly roles could you fill? Inherently there are 4 types of fatherly roles that impact every man:
The Big Brother
The first male role model of the fatherly roles is that of Big Brother. Maybe you come from a family with only sisters or you are an only child. Is there someone that was like a big brother to you growing up? They were that older family friend that rough and tumbled with you while watching wrestling, they joked with you, they helped you with advice in the girl department, and they gave you guidance when it came to being a lad.
While I come from an extremely large family, plenty of older guys mentored me. Because of them, I became a big brother myself. I have run youth groups, men’s groups, and even small groups. Each time, I have been able to impart my big brother wisdom in some way. What about yourself? Maybe you could help at a homeless shelter, a charity, or a big brother mentoring program to fill this role in another’s life.
The Crazy Uncle
I have too many nieces and nephews to count. But what about your best mates that have kids? That role of the Crazy Uncle that they all love is waiting to be filled.
I don’t mean the crazy uncle that accidentally kills the family pet. Ok, it was just once that I sat on my mate’s family pet budgie bird and killed it. The popping noise and squawk gave it away…something they still laugh and cry about to this day. I hang my head in shame. Because of moments like this, I get called “uncool Joshy” by my nieces and nephews, but my friend’s kids all call me “uncle Josh,” and ‘Mr. Josh.”
I’m allowed to tell a few classic dad jokes or badly timed puns. While driving, I’ve been known to put in a car in reverse and say, “Ahhhh this takes me back…” Did you hear about the joke about paper? Nevermind, it’s tearable. I bad joke quite a bit, but kids love this humor, and every child loves to laugh. Every kid needs that crazy uncle type in their life to cheer them up when things are down.
Note to self: Stay away from the family pets.
The Fatherly Figure
Here we have the Fatherly Figure. What about men that have struggled with having a natural earthly father? This is a huge issue today. There are kids who are not allowed to have access to their fathers through marriage breakdowns. On the opposite spectrum, there are kids who have come from broken families where dad never lived up to his role to love protect and nurture his kids.
Some of the kids in fatherless situations can say they have had fatherly figures throughout different chapters in their lives. I know this to be true. This one man was not a father in the maternal sense, but he is a great fatherly role model in the advice he always gives me. It was because of him that I went to seminary and university to study theology and history. It is because of God working through that man today that I can truly say I am here.
Fatherly figures are what each generation cries out for. Is there someone in your family or circle of friends that is crying out for that fatherly role model? Maybe ask their parent if it would be ok to mentor them.
That Spiritual Grandfather
From the Father Figure we move onto the Spiritual Grandfather. He is the man that has truly lived, and has experienced the ups and downs in life. He is the man that everyone goes to for solid sound advice and counsel in all things.
I remember years ago, while doing my undergraduate degree in college, I was struggling with direction and clarity with where I wanted my studies to take me. I was struggling with not wanting to be left behind and wanted to do something meaningful with my life. This one lecturer gave me the best advice anyone could. He turned to me and said, “Every door for a man is an open door unless God has said NO.” That gave me a freedom and clarity I had never experienced before. Since then, every few years, I still approach the same man for his Grandfatherly advice.
The Spiritual Grandfather is that non biased, neutral man that everyone goes to for guidance on financial, marital, and relational issues. He is a man that has been there and done that, and can teach each generation a thing about rising from failure. Every man needs a Grandfather.
So if that part of you is crying out to impart into the next generation, consider these four types of fatherly roles that we all can have in our lives. Maybe you could be one for others around you. As for me, I say, “Here’s to the crazy uncles everywhere!”