I’m a daddy’s girl through and through. There is no denying that. My good relationship with him has definitely shaped my life. However, I recognize that everyone is not a daddy’s child. Some don’t even have a relationship with the man. This too shapes their lives. It’s never a good thing to be estranged from any parent, and doing so comes with its own set of challenges. However, I’ve observed that damaged relationships with fathers seem to have a deeper, more painful, and more emotional effect on a person than a broken relationship with mothers. You can see it in the lack of fanfare on father’s day compared to mother’s day. When fathers sin, the effects are long-lasting and severe, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. For the hypothesis I’m about to present, I had to go back–way back–to the beginnings of human civilization. I cannot begin to think about how this works without thinking about the Father.
Back in the days of the Old Testament, when a man messed up–or was responsible for a mess up–there was a good chance that he would be cursed by God. Oftentimes, these curses would extend over many generations. If that doesn’t tell you anything, it should tell you the seriousness of a man’s place in the world–God does not play. Now, in today’s times, God doesn’t speak to us through burning bushes, thunder in the mountains, or even through the voice of one man. I’m not even sure if God is still in the grand scale cursing business, but is he? I wonder sometimes. If you’ve ever spent any length of time in church, I’m quite sure you’ve heard the term “generational curses” before. If you’re unfamiliar with this, simply put, it’s a term that refers to the seemingly endless cycle of imprudent behavior. For example, many seem to think that alcoholism runs in their family. Daddy was a drunk, his daddy was a drunk, his daddy was a drunk and so on and so on. I’m no expert on this type of thing, and I’m not even going to begin to explore where this comes from. It’s not my point. I mention it only to emphasize my point: when men mess up, things happen.
I love my father. But, he is not without his own sins. I have a half-sister who is 17 years older than me. Her mother and my father were never technically together, so she has always only had my father part-time. My father met my mother, and they got married. My father and my sister’s contact slowed down. Then, I was born. Then, my brother arrived. Then, we moved away. Because my father is not good at keeping in touch, and other reasons which are not up for public discussion, their relationship stalled. She felt abandoned and rightfully so. The loss of a father in a young lady’s life is treacherous. The loss of a father in a young man’s life is treacherous. But, why?
Here is what I think.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…and birds, bears, bugs, and all other wonderfully disgusting things. 🙂 Then he created a man to manage everything he made. Men have an innate authority given to them by God. Knowing this, it’s no wonder why God would be upset when men usurp and abuse that power. It also shows me why it cuts so deep when that authority is missing. They say that a major reason why there is so much crime and disorder in low-income areas is that, statistically speaking, there is a higher number of homes without fathers there. I’m not here to say that’s true or not, but I could see how that could be a contributing factor. It’s almost like when a man is in his house doing what he should, everyone’s compass points north. But, when he messes up, or leaves, the compasses begin to spin trying to find north again. Like a compass needs to find north, we need our fathers whether we care to admit it or not.
When our fathers are absent, we begin to search for substitutes. No one likes to feel off-kilter. We need that compass to point north. For some women, that means trying to find another man who feels like north. Men do it too, but they’re not trying to find north; They’re trying to be north to someone else. It’s not impossible to do as there are many excellent fathers out there whose compasses did not point north. It can be done, but it’s much easier to do when you’ve seen it done correctly before or had good instructions.
What do we do?
I don’t know.
Today is father’s day in America. I would love it if everyone reached out to dad just to say the words “happy father’s day,” but I know that’s not going to happen. I know those words and the thought of those words bring a lot of us a lot of pain. That is something only time and prayer can heal. But, when it comes down to it, everyone has a father and no one would be here without him. I know a lot of people who have never had a relationship with their fathers and refer to him as “the sperm donor.” It’s usually said in jest, but I know there is a lot of emotion behind those jokes. No matter the circumstance of your birth, your parents’ relationship, or whatever, you exist! You couldn’t exist without your father, and I doubt people will deny their own existence. So, if the only reason you acknowledge the man today is for giving you life…ok! That is something. I hope you decide to do at least that.
Happy father’s day to all the men out there reading this who are fathers, soon-to-be-fathers, and want to be fathers (not “wannabe” fathers 🙂 ). To all of the men out there who are not fathers but are father figures to someone, I extend to you the same greeting. Yes, it takes having offspring to earn the title “father,” but being a father is so much more than going about spreading seed. What you’re doing in someone else’s life speaks volumes and makes their compass point north. Thank you!
To the crappy fathers, do better. To the excellent fathers, keep doing what you’re doing. To those who have buried your father, I hope today isn’t painful. I hope you will spend today reminiscing about good times and happy memories.
Have a happy father’s day!