Wanted: Positive Male Role Models

Father’s Day reminds us that fathers are a tremendous source of love, strength and protection for a child. Notwithstanding the faithful and heroic efforts of single moms bringing up children in today’s society, children still need to be around Christian men who are positive role models; men who are actively involved in their life of faith, possess spiritual passion, and are faithful fathers and husbands. Undoubtedly, parishes need more men to be involved in the spiritual development of young people. Males bring a unique contribution that cannot be successfully substituted by females. Only men can serve as male role models and communicate the model of God as a loving father to children. In today’s society, for a number of reasons, many children grow up in single-parent homes, nurtured by their mothers. The parish or school may be the only place where these children have an opportunity to interact with men who model the loving, caring, and nurturing values of Christian manhood. Children can benefit from having a positive and responsible male role model in their lives. It is said of young males that they are naturally more attentive to men when being taught good manners and respect for others. Men are generally better able to get young males unhooked from video games and involved in athletic competitions and outdoor activities so they can experience a wider world, and do things that are physically demanding; thus realizing a host of virtues. Adolescent males appear to develop emotional literacy, social skills, and Christian values more readily from men. And the presence of a Christian man helps reduce the possibility of a young male becoming disaffected, socially isolated, and more prone to embracing at-risk behaviors. Of course, much of the above can be said for the importance of men in the lives of young women as well. But men can offer a unique Christian witness to young women in a culture that is so focused on young females as sex objects. It is important for girls to experience positive male role models; Christian men who see young women as children of God and are interested in what they say, think and feel as they grow in their spiritual lives. Young people need both male and female role models. But adult males are fewer to be found. Let Father’s Day remind us to find ways to connect with fathers and invite other positive male role models into the faith formation of our young people. Let’s encourage men to get more involved in the parish as mentors, tutors, catechists and other ministries. Let’s help young people see first-hand how Christian men follow Jesus Christ and live as his disciples in today’s world.