St. Joseph is an excellent role model for all Christian fathers. His life with Mary and Jesus teaches us to have a lot of faith in God. St. Joseph reminds fathers of the importance of prayer. He teaches fathers to protect their family by his constant protection of Mary and Jesus. He provided for his family as a carpenter and he humbly served the Lord.
The role of the Christian father is that of providing a solid base for their family and especially their children to grow spiritually and to grow to love and serve God. Fathers need to provide the good soil that will allow those who have been entrusted to them to grow to be strong and loving people in our Church and society.
There is no manual anywhere that tells exactly how to be a father. It is not an easy task especially today with all the pressure of work and a society that asks more of our time. The questions we need to ask are, "Am I present to my child, not only physically, but emotionally, relationally and spiritually? Do I make time to know what my child is struggling with? Do I know who my children hang out with? Do I make time to listen, play and pray with them?
In section #172 of Pope Francis' post-synodal apostolic exhortation, "Amoris Laetitia," states, "Every child has a right to receive love from a mother and a father; both are necessary for a child's integral and harmonious development." The role of the father is just as important or even more important in the life of the child even if he is separated by divorce or if he fathered a child outside of marriage. In "Amoris Laetitia" #173 reads, "The sense of being orphaned that affects many children and young people today is much deeper than we think." The following are words from Marcos, a 15 year old I know, "After all this time, I can say it doesn't get easier. Feeling as if there is something wrong with you, so he left. Thinking to yourself that you're not good enough and you never will be. No matter what I'll always want a father. But I'll never truly have one. He hops in my inbox and spills what can only be lies. I mean, how can you love someone you don't know. Truth is, he doesn't know me. And I don't know if I want to know him at this point. It's painful not having two parents. It is. Anyone that says otherwise is either lying to you or to themselves. It's never easy."
Past experiences and statistics show us that the absence of a father in the child's life can cause psychological and moral imbalances in the child that can last a lifetime. It is so important especially for that father living away from a child that the child knows he or she is loved.
If you are one of those fathers living away from your child, do you make special efforts to contact them and show them that they are important and want to get to know and love them? Are you at peace with the child's mother? Listen and take time for building the relationship between father and son or daughter. Keep an open communication between you and your child. With love and prayer you can overcome a lot of barriers.