Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT)
9 Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
"The Lord thy God is not like the gods of the nations, the creatures of fancy, subjects fit enough for loose poetry, but no proper objects of serious devotion; no, he is God, God indeed, God alone, the faithful God, able and ready not only to fulfil his own promises, but to answer all the just expectations of his worshippers, and he will certainly keep covenant and mercy,' that is, "show mercy according to covenant, to those that love him and keep his commandments' (and in vain do we pretend to love him if we do not make conscience of his commandments); "and this' (as is here added for the explication of the promise in the second commandment) "not only to thousands of persons, but to thousands of generations-so inexhaustible is the fountain, so constant are the streams!' [Matthew Henry Commentary]
A 1994 Swiss study explored how religion gets passed from one generation to the next. In other words, what causes a child to adopt his or her parent's faith? The results pointed to one critical factor: the father's involvement in practicing his faith. The results included the following statistics:
If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of children will become regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will attend irregularly.
If only the mother attends regularly and the father attends sporadically, only 3 percent of children will become regular churchgoers, and 59 percent will attend irregularly.
On the other hand, if a father attends church regularly but the mother is irregular, 38 percent of children will become regular attenders.
And if the father attends church regularly but the mother doesn't attend, the percentage rises even higher: 44 percent of children will become regular attenders.
When neither parent practices their faith, to nobody's surprise, only 4 percent of children will become regular attenders and 15 percent will attend occasionally. In other words, without mom or dad's regular participation, 80 percent of children will drift away from the faith.
Although the study certainly challenges fathers to participate in church involvement, it also offers some hope for faithful moms. Even when a father attends irregularly there are some extraordinary effects. And the Swiss study didn't account for many other factors: the spiritual vitality of the church attended, the power of a praying mother (or other family members), and the influence of a church that mentors children whose fathers are less involved. [Robbie Low, "The Truth About Men & Church," Touchstone Magazine (June, 2003);]
There are many fathers who have disobeyed God and turned away from Him. In doing so they have not affected just themselves, but they have also affected the faith of their children.