How Important Is a Dad?

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 Wilson

Debbie W. Wilson

Photo by: Sukanto Debnath

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  1. Ann Musico

    I am very grateful I still have my dad. He was a very good dad but he worked a lot. Even though he had a restaurant, which is a very demanding business, he always took my brother and me out on his days off and we always went away on vacation. He wasn’t and still is not very affectionate and while I can’t ever remember hearing him say he was proud of me or that he loves me – he demonstrated it with his actions. My husband has been a wonderful dad to our 3 children. None of us does it perfectly, but our children would not be the amazing people they’ve grown to be without Alex.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, thank you for sharing your sweet memories of your dad and your husband. You are right, none of us do it perfectly. But being present and available go a long way to filling up a child’s love cup.

  2. Chris

    WOW! Love this post. I grew up without my dad really in my life. I saw him about 4 times a year and maybe talked to him on the phone a few more times outside of that. I always knew what I wanted in a father.

    I am now not just a daddy, but a single dad at that. My kiddo is my world. I strive to show him who God is through the way I live and interact with him. I mess up. I am quick to tell him when I am wrong. I make sure he knows he is loved. I include him in as much as I can. His mom is still a part of his life but not a great part.

    Thank you for your affirmation and encouragement with this post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Chris, that is awesome to hear how you’ve taken what you missed growing up and invested it into you son. How blessed your son is to have a dad so invested in him. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Alan

    Hebrews 1:3 helped me to start understanding what God is actually like, “And He (Christ) is the radiance of His (God’s) glory and the exact representation of His (God’s) nature…” It was hard for me to believe and live according to Christ being the exact representation of God’s nature. I had a critical, overbearing Dad that instilled great fear at a very young age, never told I was loved and almost never told I had done a good job with anything. I can give a personal testimony at to what that did to me for 40 years. Thanks Larry, for guiding me through the last door to complete recovery! God bless you and Debbie and your work! Hope to see you in a few weeks.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Alan, thank you for sharing what helped you build a new relationship with God. Jesus came to show us what God is really like. I love the verse in Hebrews you shared.

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