Healing a Man's Father-Wound
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."1
In spite of what some women libbers, gay and lesbian would-be-parents, and mothers having children out of wedlock (to justify their actions), claim about fathers not being important for the development and well-being of children, the fact remains, God's plan for parenthood and family life has never changed, and the significance of the role of fatherhood (as well as motherhood) cannot be underestimated.
"According to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a father's involvement with a child increases the child's IQ, the child's motivation to learn, and the child's self-confidence. In addition, children with involved dads are more likely to develop a sense of humor as well as an 'inner excitement.'"2
Interesting too, that Dr. Frank Minirth reports how "a recent survey revealed how children are learning their values: 43 percent by parents, 38 percent by television, 8 percent by peers, and 6 percent by teachers."3
"The Los Angeles Lakers had just completed 13 games in 10 cities in 21 days. It was particularly tough on Dominic Harris, the 5-year-old son of Ann Harris and Laker Coach Del Harris. Said Dominic to Del: 'I miss you, Dad. In fact, I can't remember when I didn't miss you.'"4
Ask a hundred men how many felt close to and affirmed by their fathers and you will see about three or four hands raised. Herein lies the secret of so much of our relational and emotional distress. The father-wound that injured our masculine soul is because we never felt loved by our fathers. And that wound desperately needs to be healed. (The same principles also apply to women who carry a deep father-wound.)
Speaking personally, from early childhood I started looking for love in the wrong places in a vain attempt to fill the empty vacuum caused by my emotionally absentee father.
For example, in days gone by I looked for love in the things I did—like making beautiful things including a dream home. I learned to move a group to tears, make them laugh hilariously and inspire them to reach for noble goals. I got lots of approval but none of these things ever made me feel loved. In other words, I mistakenly mistook approval for love.
Perhaps most delusive of all is how, from a very early age, I looked to the opposite sex to try to make me feel loved and to affirm my masculinity. It started when I was a child. I still remember how I fell "madly in love" with my second grade school teacher, looking for love from her.
Unfortunately, no mother, wife or any other woman can ever make a boy or a man feel secure as a man. An attractive woman might make him feel terrific for a brief moment of time, but she still can't make him feel loved or that he is a man no matter how attractive she might be. A man may even be intoxicated with passion when he meets a beautiful woman and may want to marry her. If he does, he (and she) may be in for a rude awakening. Not because of her, but because of him. When his passion subsides, he'll be faced with the pain and reality of his own loneliness and emptiness.
And then to avoid facing his pain, he'll look to another performance, climb another mountain, or seek another beautiful woman ... and another ... to prove to himself that he is a man. Or he'll seek to deaden his inner pain through alcohol, drugs, or addictive behaviors and even ruin his health and never get close to the ones he loves, or he will ruin those relationships. That is, he'll keep acting out until he faces why he looks in the wrong places for the father-love (and/or mother-love) he never received as a child.
To all fathers, I trust today's Daily Encounter will help you realize the importance of becoming emotionally and spiritually involved in the lives of your children. And those of us who have a father-wound, let us stop our crazy ways of making attempts to deaden the pain of our inner emptiness. Rather, admit the true need of our heart, and seek the help of God and a trusted counselor if needed to find healing of our father-wound.
NOTE: For additional help, see the complete article, "Healing a Man's Father Wound," at: http://tinyurl.com/9dse4.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, [for those of us who are parents—especially fathers] please help me to be the father You envision for me to be to my children. Help me always to be as Christ to them, and may they grow up knowing that they are very much loved by me as well as by You. And [for all of us who have a deep father-wound], please help me to face my father-wound and lead me to the help I need for healing and recovery so that I may become the father and family man You desire for me to be. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ephesians 6:4 (NIV).
2. Source: Victor Parachin, "The Fine Art of Good Fathering," Herald of Holiness, February 1995, pp. 32-33.
3. Dr. Frank Minirth, "Withstanding the Tides of Change," Today's Better Life, p. 52.
4. Lexington Herald-Leader, January 1, 1996, p. C2.