When I was studying counseling, I was amazed to learn the lasting impact a father can have in his children’s self-perception and view of God. This information didn’t mean much to me until I participated in an evaluation.
First, we filled out evaluations on how we viewed God. Later, we filled out the same evaluation, but this time it was in relation to our earthy dads. The results stunned me. My graphs were almost identical. I had basically laid my father’s values, morals, sense of humor, and world-view onto God.
Jim Craddock, the founder of Scope Ministries has taught on the life-long impact a father has on his children. An emotionally or physically absent father hinders his child’s ability to trust God. Scope Ministries put Jim’s teaching on the absent father into a chapter of Be Transformed. Here’s an abbreviated list of some of the consequences they mention.
A woman may:
- Reject her appearance and femininity
- Crave male attention or resent and shun it
- Need constant reassurance of love
- Be attracted to older men. She may experience sexual dysfunction if she marries one because she has difficulty “sleeping with dad”
A man may:
- Be attracted to dominate women…and establish a passive role if he marries one
- For lack of a proper role model, adopt a macho style or effeminate traits
- Crave male attention and affection…which may lead to homosexuality
- Be sensitive to rejection from male authority figures
- Feel threatened by other men and feel that he doesn’t measure up
God knew how important this relationship would be. Envision the relationship these Old Testament words depict: “Memorize these laws and think about them…19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them all the time—whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 CEV). I love this picture of a father engaged with his children in everyday activities.
With our modern lifestyles, this picture may seem impossible. When Larry was in seminary, some fellow seminary wives said they couldn’t wait until the program was over so they could see their husbands again. Larry spent many nights in the library studying, but he spent time with us too. He came home for supper. After our meal, we’d put the children in the child seats on the back of our second-hand bikes and peddle around our small island, play a game, or share a story. It was a small chunk of focused attention in a busy schedule.
It’s easy to promise ourselves, I will do better after I get through this phase in my life. Dads, don’t wait. Your relationship with your child affects his or her relationship with God and how s/he relates to others. Your emotional and physical presence matter to your family.
What did/do you appreciate most about your dad? Click here to share your thoughts.
Happy Father’s Day,
Debbie W. Wilson
Photo by: Sukanto Debnath