Last week I began a series on the pitfalls husbands and fathers must avoid if they are going to safely lead their families through the enemy territory of this present culture. The first was alienation of affection. This week, I'm focusing on the danger of emasculation.

We have witnessed a tragic erosion of male authority in today’s culture. Since the late 1980s, a new male archetype emerged: dads being portrayed as dumb, incompetent, selfish oafs (think: Homer Simpson, Papa Bear of the Berenstain Bears, Al Bundy, etc.). Indeed, a BYU study of Disney Channel tween shows reported that “every 3.24 minutes, a dad acts like a buffoon.” More recently, "toxic masculinity" has put a spotlight on negative behavior associated with men such as violence, recklessness, promiscuous sexuality, and hiding feelings (except anger).

What children desperately need are fathers who lead their families in the fear of the Lord. This means dad understands his authority in the home is given to him by God for the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of his family.

Leadership is often misunderstood and abused by insecure and ignorant men. Some men think it’s about being popular with their kids. They go out of their way to seek their kids’ approval and refuse to risk disappointing them. Dad, you need to understand that God has placed you as the head of your family, and your home is not a democracy. Rest assured, your son or daughter will not always agree with your rules or decisions. Rather, they will test the lines you draw, and it’s vital to hold those lines intact.

Another misunderstanding about leadership equates it with power. Effective fathers understand the difference between positional power and influence. A father on a power trip can force his children to do something while being powerless to influence their heart. Being a leader is all about influence and making a positive impact on your child’s heart.

Effective fathers understand the difference between positional power and influence.

Another misconception about leadership is that it means you must never show weakness or admit flaws. In reality, there are no perfect fathers. We all make mistakes and it’s important to freely admit them and allow our children to hear us. I remember a teenage girl who sarcastically said to me, “My dad is never wrong.” I could see that she was reacting to her father’s pride.

The late psychologist and author Grace Ketterman, in Teenage Rebellion, shared her first impression of God. As a young girl she got up one night to get a drink of water and as she quietly approached the kitchen she saw her father on his knees praying for his family and asking the Lord for strength and wisdom. She recalled the thought that God must be incredibly awesome if her big strong farmer dad so desperately needed him.

It's that kind of humility that makes men effective leaders in the home. Such a humble spirit is what keeps love and discipline in perfect balance. To put it in perspective, I close with Dr. Ketterman’s “Four Kinds of Fathers.”

    1. The Deadbeat Dad – Low in love and low in discipline.
    2. The Delinquent Dad – High on love but low in discipline. (Permissiveness is a form of neglect.)
    3. The Dictator Dad – Low on love but high in discipline.
    4. The Devoted Dad – High on love and high in discipline.

Which dad best describes you?

The danger of emasculation is a pitfall fathers must avoid if they are going to safely lead through the enemy territory of this present culture.