The Importance of Fatherhood Series: Episode One with Dr. Ralph Carter

This week is the first episode in our fatherhood series. I’ve been thinking about doing this series for a while now because I want to get the message out that fathers DO matter in a home. Our culture misleads us to think it doesn’t matter if you grow up with a father or not. But it does.

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes: five times the average (US Dept. of Health Census) – 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes: 32 times the average, 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes; 20 times the average (Center for Disease Control), 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes; 14 times the average (Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26), 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; nine times the average (National Principals Association Report)

Children without father are four times more likely to live in poverty, have higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born into married homes and are more likely to go to prison. Only one in five prison inmates grew up with a father present. (

Also, growing up without a father could permanently alter the structure of the brain and produce more children who are aggressive and angry (Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, McGill University and Francis Bamlico, Center for Addiction and Mental Health, publishing in the journal, “Cerebral Cortex”). Girls raised without fathers are more sexually promiscuous and more likely to end up divorced. (Wade Horn, “Why There IS No Substitute for Parents”, IMPRIMIS 26, NO. 6, June 1997). 70% of teen births occur in single mother homes. (David T. Lykken, “Reconstructing Fathers). And, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that they were raised by single parent. (from CC Harper and SS McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Assoc., San Francisco, CA, 1998).

Now if you’re a single mom and you’ve just thrown up your hands and wonder why you should even bother, please don’t get discouraged. This just means it’s important for you to be more aware and to be intentional about including godly men in your children’s lives. If there is a grandfather, uncle, or coach that can impact your child for good, you need to search for those men and ask for thier help. It should encourage all of us as we think about Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family,, and how he grew up with an absent father. It helps us understand the importance of a fatherly figure in our children’s lives. Jim Daly’s influence was a coach who took him under his wing and made him the godly man he is today.

So, today we start our series with Dr. Ralph Carter. Dr. Carter has been a pastor for over 40 years and has seen first-hand the importance of having two parents in the home. He shares about his own father and their relationship as well as biblical wisdom and principles about fatherhood and parenting in general. You’ll love Dr. Carter’s engaging way of talking and you’ll learn how God instructs us to teach and train our children. We talk about how television has impacted our perception of fathers over the last several decades and the top two pieces of advice he has for parents. There is so much great information in this episode I know you’ll come away feeling more equipped to parent well.

Quotes and Tips from Dr. Carter

“If you’ve go two parents in the home I just think you’ve got a lot better chance of doing a good job raising those children.”

“One of the things I look back and recognize is I never felt afraid when my dad was around… Whenever my dad was at my side, I always felt… I’m secure.”

“It’s really important that we not come off as fake or phony to our kids… that we love what we teach them about on Sundays. And that they see it show up in our business dealings, in our relationships with our neighbors, how we deal with our parents or in-laws and just folk in general.”

“We don’t want to bring our children to the place that we break their spirit. We don’t want them to be wild, but at the same time we don’t want them to think, ‘Well, I’ve just got to cow-tow to everything that my dad says… I can’t have an opinion.’ “

“I really do believe that one of the best things moms and dads can do is to resist the urge to bail kids out when they’ve messed up.”

Dr. Carter’s top two pieces of advice for parents:

  1. Take every opportunity to instill the word of God into your kids every day, all the time, every decision,.
  2. Allow your children to suffer the consequences of their actions.

Scriptures and Resources

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His Kingdom and glory. – 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

These commands that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 4:12

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. – Proverbs 13:24

Psalm 15

Have a New Kid By Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior and Character in 5 Days by Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Carter’s book You Make the Call: Choices That Make or Break Us can be purchased for $5 by reaching out to him at

Listen to this week’s episode The Importance of Fatherhood Series: Episode One with Dr. Ralph Carter