They Call Me Dad by Ken Canfield is designed to help Christian fathers step into the role of being godly fathers, even if their own fathers may have failed in modeling it themselves. The author assumes that the reader is a Christian man who has been a believer for some time, and has a clear understanding of Christian parenting values. His target audience is dads between 22 and 30 years old, married to Christian wives, and are church-oriented enough to understand the jargon and phraseology of Christianity. Unfortunately, the book provides no insights or advice for single fathers--due to divorce, death of a spouse, or never having been married in the first place-- fathers who are non-Christians, or fathers who are new Christians and may not understand such basic terms as giving a fathers biblical blessing.
Much of what Canfield shares about fathering is sound advice. However, he assumes too much when he asserts, overtly or by inference, that it is only godly fathers who rear godly children. For a fact, many godly men didnt come from such a background, but through Gods grace came to know the Lord. It would have been better to say that a healthier life is provided for children when their fathers love and serve God. Canfield says, incredibly bluntly, If you didnt experience love through the blessing and caring arms of your father, it will be nothing short of the miraculous for you to express love to your child (p. 31). To this reviewer, that is an overstatement--even discouraging and misleading.
The format of the book has strengths and weaknesses. The questions at the end of the chapters are thought-provoking and insightful, but some of the action points are a bit unrealistic for dads with low-paying jobs or minimal levels of education. The first three chapters are so filled with church lingo, the lay reader may not understand them; however, chapters five and six do a marvelous job of explaining processes in common terminology that anyone could follow and implement.
As a pastor, I recommend this book for use in a church class setting in which the leaders can help new believers and non-believers understand the Bible references and religious terms. -- John Boyanowski, Christian Book Previews.com