Where are you Dad?
It is Father’s Day today in Australia and New Zealand, and as I reflect on the importance of fathers in our society and our lives as children, I am left pondering about the many out there who don’t have a father, or who are grieving because of the absence of their fathers from home.
Last week I encountered two different girls with the same hunger and pain burning in their hearts. The first one was a fifteen-year-old who was lamenting about her dad’s absence for six years. What’s fascinating is that while he abandons her, she longs to have a career like her dad. This young teenager secretly admires her dad even though he wants nothing to do with her. How heartbreaking and touching to listen to her with no hatred or anger in her voice. The brave girl has accepted her situation and decided to move on with her life. Her story taught me how to surrender our challenges to God and allow Him to take control.
Two days later, I met this little seven-year-old girl. I was helping her with some craftwork when her friend reminded us of Father’s Day. Within seconds her eyes bulge with tears as she said in a sorrowful voice, ‘I don’t have a father but I want one.’ Goodness me, I didn’t see that coming, she took me unawares. I quickly said to her, ‘mine isn’t here with me either, but you know what, God is our Father and He is the best.’ Her friend said to her, ‘that’s okay, I love you and am here.’ Suddenly her voice and appearance changed from a sad little girl to a jovial tone as she smiles and laughs. That was a relief for me!
Where am I going you asked? I think that’s obvious.
Every child needs a father and to be surrounded by a father’s love. Research has proved over and again the vital role of a father in a child’s life and the devastating effect being fatherless can have on a child. The absence of a father’s love can cause children to go searching in the wrong places, leading to heartbreaking results. Many fathers don’t seem to understand the gap their absence creates in their children’s life. I salute the many mothers who do all they can to fill the gap. However, they just can’t do it, no matter how they try. The absence of a father affects children far more than we know.
I understand that some fathers may not know how to demonstrate love and care to their children. Perhaps they have never experienced a father’s love themselves; it’s hard to give what you don’t have. But I’ve seen others take the challenge and learn how to love even when they’ve never had the experience. If you have the availability and opportunity to show love to your children, please reach out, no matter who your children are, where they are, or what they have done. We still need your love, even if we don’t admit it.
I’ve seen fathers sacrifice time with their family for career, calling or ministry. You need to work to provide for your family, but there needs to be a balance as to how much of your time goes to work and family, especially when you have growing children. Giving them only the leftovers of your busy day won’t do. Children need your attention daily for at least one to two hours a day, if you are to have a healthy and blossoming relationship.
Happy Father’s Day Dad, and to all Fathers out there.
Comments are welcome.