Anchor Man (part four)

March 12, 2007

Today is probably my final post relating to Steve Farrar’s book “Anchor Man.” This is most certainly not because there are no more reflections I could share from the book. Rather, if these posts have been of interest to you, I’d like to encourage you to buy the book and thoughtfully read it through.

However, I’d like to close with a final challenge. In one of the most gripping chapters (“It takes more than sperm”), Farrar issues a rallying call to fatherhood’s necessary commitment.

“It was a full page ad in USA Today. The page was divided in two from top to bottom. On the left side of the page it simply said: What is takes to be a father. Underneath was a blown up, magnified picture of a single sperm. On the right-hand side of the page the heading read:

What it takes to be a dad
* read to your children
* keep your promises
* go for walks together
* let your children help with household projects
* spend time one-on-one with each child
* tell your children about your own childhood
* go to the zoo, museums, ball games as a family
* set a good example
* use good manners
* help your children with their homework
* show your children lots of warmth and affection
* set clear, consistent limits
* consider how your decisions will affect your children
* listen to your children
* know your children’s friends
* take your children to work
* open a savings account for your children
* resolve conflict quickly
* take your children to a place of worship

In the remainder of the chapter, Farrar explains that meeting the latter ideal will take commitment.

“I’m writing this chapter to persuade you never ever to leave your wife and your children. There can be no fathering without commitment. To be a father you must first be commited to your marriage. Commited to your kids. Commited to staying instead of leaving.

A real dad does more than simply produce children. A real dad keeps his promises. He chooses to work through the tough times, for the sake of his children. He refuses to abdicate being the head of his home. He leads his family and loves them. He provides for them and protects, both emotionally and physically. These things he cannot do once he walks out the door….

A father who walks away from his family walks away from fathering. And when he walks away from fathering, he has withdrawn the very thing his children need to grow up to be healthy adults. This is the simple, biblical truth that our culture wishes to deny, but that countless studies are beginning to overwhelmingly support.

Back in 1980 (the year that I was born), James Dobson made an insightful observation, which Farrar quotes in the book. I leave it with you, thankful for the commitment of my own father since then:

“The western world stands at a great crossroads in its history. It is my opinion that our very survival as a people will depend upon the presence or absence of male leadership in millions of homes…I believe with everything within me, that husbands hold the keys to the preservation of the family.”


  1. Thank you, Colin, for these posts. As a father of three boys, I have found them encouraging and convicting. I had heard of this book before, but now I want to pick up a copy for myself. By the way, I am enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Ray Fowler

  2. I have enjoyed this series. It reminds me that the most important “discipleship groups” for pastors (or any men)are their families. It is often a tragic truth that ministers work tirelessly to have thriving discipleship in the church but neglect it at home. Our eloquent articulation of justification in the pulpit should be accompanied by an intimate explanation of it in living room. Thanks, Colin, for posting these.


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