A Few Good Men offers fatherly advice
DENISHA McKNIGHT | 10/28/2016, 1:42 p.m.
The Dallas Examiner
According to a Census Bureau study, close to 50 percent of Black children live in a single-mother home without their father, 4.3 percent of live in single-father homes, and 36.6 percent live in homes with both their mother and father. Other children are recorded as living with grandparents, adoptive parents or in the foster care system.
Regardless of the living situation, the role of the father plays a vital part of children’s development – including, but not limited to self-esteem, a sense of physical and economical security, mental health and academic achievements – according to the National Institute of Health.
Brother Prater, a minister and former Dallas law enforcement officer, understands the severity of familial divide. In his book, A Few Good Men: A Path to Godly Fatherhood, he tackles fatherhood from a biblical and realistic perspective to inform readers about the various trials that may take place in a father’s life.
According to Prater, the book celebrates “fathers who are taking care of their responsibilities, to challenge those who are not, to promote women to acknowledge and appreciate a child’s father who is fulfilling his role, and to educate single women on the qualities they should look for in their potential husband and/or father to their children.”
Throughout the short self-help book, readers are instructed on the many different aspects of fatherhood. Each brief chapter is named after a different lesson, such as the meaning of a father and the duties of a father.
In the beginning, Prater informs his audience about the foundations of a manhood before going into what a father needs and what a father should do. For example, the first chapter tells readers about the origin of Father’s Day. In the next few chapters, he discusses how certain events in a father’s life can reflect and re-interpret itself in the lives of their own children, such as abandonment and abuse.
Prater’s strong suit in the book comes from his straightforward approach to each topic as well as how each lesson is connected to religion. The author doesn’t prolong exactly what he wants readers to know and do. Each point, whether it is the steps to overcome child support issues or understanding the heart of a man, is printed in bold letters and given short descriptions that are easy to understand.
The most informative section of the book would be toward the end, where Prater disregards traditional chapter headings and uses more distinct labels for specific issues such as self-esteem and self-worth, broken-heartedness, grief and others. In this section, he correlates religious teachings and advice with witty metaphors and real-life applications that help readers better understand how to overcome their problems – not just with their fathers, but within themselves.
The book has a positive impression of fatherhood and is very readable. However, the book does need improvement in a particular area.
Although the author said the book talks about fathers who don’t take care of their responsibilities, the subject is hardly touched on. It is understandable that the narrative of bad fathers versus the untold narrative of good fathers is one that is often spoken upon in society, and good fathers should be celebrated more. However, it doesn’t mean bad fathers shouldn’t be discussed at all because, like it or not, they exist.
It would have been great to see the author talk more about how underperforming fathers can reconcile with their children as well as how children can reconcile with their fathers in a more in-depth therapeutic manner. Instead, he only explains why these fathers are the way are and children having to forgive them. Forgiveness is only part of the battle towards having a good father-son/daughter relationship.
This aspect, along with Prater’s original application, would have better accomplished the book’s goal and made the book not appear one-sided.
Overall, the book is targeted toward different types of people in different situations: fathers, mothers, children, single women, step-fathers, people dealing with child support, and others. A Few Good Men is limitless, easy to read and encouraging. Anyone who reads this book should be able to take something away from it.