A Father's Blessing
"When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, 'Who are these?' 'They are the sons God has given me here,' Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, 'Bring them to me so I may bless them.'"1
One of the major causes of emotional and relational conflicts among teens, adults, and even children is that of fatherless homes, absentee fathers, emotionally uninvolved fathers, and/or abusive fathers. In God's economy and plan fathers have an extremely important and significant role to play, not only providing for their children's physical needs, but also for their emotional and spiritual needs. Equally important is the God-given role of mothers, but today we are focusing on fathers.
Regardless of what women's libbers and/or gay couples try to tell us, one of the greatest needs for healthy homes and families—healthy children, teens, and healthy, mature adults—is to have (or to have had) a father who is/was not only present emotionally, but also affirming, loving, accepting, and loving and giving full support to his wife—the mother of his children—and modeling what it means to be a kind, loving and supportive father, man, and adult. Every child needs this support and blessing from his/her father. The importance of this for the healthy nurturing of children simply cannot be over-emphasized.
For a few simple tips on being a supportive father, listen to what Gary Smalley, popular author and psychologist, had to say after he asked 100 people, "What is one specific way you knew that you had received your father's blessing?"
Here are some of those answers:
1. "My father would put his arm around me at church and let me lay my head on his shoulder."
2. "When my father was facing being transferred at work, he purposely took another job so that I could finish my senior year in high school at the same school."
3. "When I wrecked my parent's car, my father's first reaction was to hug me and let me cry instead of yelling at me."
4. "When I was thirteen, my dad trusted me to use his favorite hunting rifle when I was invited to go hunting with a friend and his father."
5. "My father went with me when I had to take back an ugly dress a saleswoman had talked me into buying."
6. "My father would let me practice pitching to him for a long time when he got home from work."
7. "Even though I had never seen him cry before, my father cried during my wedding because he was going to miss my no longer being at home."2
Perhaps the greatest need of fathers is to be emotionally as well as physically present for his wife and children. At the same time, it's the multiplication of the everyday little loving, caring things over the years that help a child to feel affirmed and blessed by his/her father.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be the kind of father (or mother) you want me to be. And please help me to be a channel of your love, and because of your love flowing through me, grant that my children will know without a shadow of a doubt that they have indeed been blessed by their father. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Genesis 48:8-9 (NIV).
2. Gary Smalley, adapted for www.eSermons.com, Sept 2003.