I know I hurriedly wrote about this before on Friday, but I'd like to talk about Dad's and how important they are to children some more.
As a little girl growing up without a dad in church it was tough - in school it was tough. Father's Day were awful to get through. As a teenager it became worse. I already felt so out of place in my own skin. My awkward phase was not particularly terrible, but it wasn't great either. It didn't help that I didn't seem to attract boys. I had a friend who just walked in a room and boys flocked to her. I had other friends who were comfortable in their own skin (or at least it seemed that way) and so besides, being a total bookworm who knew the librarians on a first name basis and social awkward, I also was different because my dad was dead. I only met a few handful of other students who also had a dead father growing up - it didn't become more common until I went to college. Even then each situation is different, I had several friend who lost their dad's later in their lives so they got to know them.
As a teenager especially when I began dating, I longed for my dad. I wanted to know what he would think about some boy, I missed that I didn't get to have that experience of having a Dad who may or may not scare away some boy who was interested in me. I have always longed to know if I am what he had hoped I would be. Would he be proud of me? Would he approve of most of the choices I made in life? What would he think of the girls? How would our lives have been different?
This void was worsened since we went to a church that for a long time made it difficult to be a fatherless child. It wasn't until I was older I began to see men of God take action to help the fatherless children. Those men probably don't even realize how much they helped me then as well as now. There was Grandpa Robert Moore who while not my actual grandfather, loved me just the same and who I enjoyed talking often. He allowed me to adopt him so I would have a person to write a letter to on Father's Day. Uncle George was awesome - even though we didn't get to see each other very often, there is something about having a tie to a man who knew your dad before his death that is soothing. He is still here for me now offering marital advice or a good chuckle when I need him. He may never fully realize how much I needed that. Then there is my Uncle Ed. A man who while not fully stepping in, I can go to when I need to ask questions about life and the other things. Elizabeth calls him Grandpa Ed and he just smiles and lets her. While it may not seem like these men are doing anything extraordinary - just knowing I can ask them for help does wonders for my sense of belonging. Last but most definitely not least, I cannot forget Bud. He isn't my dad, but he is a dad and he is dating my mom. He helped me work on the house while Chris was gone, he loves on the girls and welcomes us into his house on more than several occassions. If he thinks we need something he is quick to step in and offer a helping hand, but it works both ways - we too offer our help. While technically he isn't my stepdad - I am proud to have him in my life.
If you are a man who knows there is a family in need of a positive male role model - please do not be afraid if God has laid it on your heart. It may seem a small thing to do - taking a boy to a baseball game, mentoring him and giving him an ear. Or just telling a little girl that she looks pretty at church (these are all examples that need to be held within reason - it is possible to take things too far. Your family and marriage should not suffer by doing these things). But if God has laid this on your heart - please you never know what you might be gaining by listening to him.
My dad is dead, but not all dad's who aren't in their children's lives are dead - some choose to have little if nothing to do with their children. Some dad's are so busy working and providing financially they forget that children grow up and learn to be adults by the example set for them. The song Cat's in the Cradle is a great example of this problem.
If you are a dad and you stop and take stock of your life at home - what kind of dad will you be? Will you be the interactive and proactive father who is always there for his children? Will you be a so-so dad who is there in body but not always emotionally checked in with his family? Or will you be the absentee father who is either not involved at all or who is so busy providing financially he has forgotten that children need emotional support as well? Do you teach your children to speak respectfully to their mother? Or do you encourage them to ignore her and treat her rudely or disrespectfully?
It isn't too late to change - especially if your children are still at home. It isn't too late to make amends or to try and create a relationship with your children if you are an absentee father. Let's make 2011 a year of father's to encourage them and support them. Let's help them as they work to be better men of God and to grow closer to their families if they aren't already?
I hope you all have a good week. Happy Wednesday and God Bless.
Love in Christ,