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 one "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
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 lays the secret of so much of our relational and emotional distress. The father-wound that injured our masculine soul is because we never felt close to or loved by our father. And that wound desperately needs to be healed. (The same principle also applies 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, for many years starting in my youth, I looked for love in the things I did, like making beautiful things including a dream home. Then I majored in words and wrote books and poems. 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.
Unfortunately, no mother, wife or any other woman can ever make a boy or a man love himself as a man. An attractive woman might make him feel terrific for a time, but she 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 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 deaden the pain through alcohol, drugs or addictive behaviors and eventually ruin his health, get cancer, die of a heart attack, never get close to the ones he loves, or 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 fathers I trust today's Daily Encounter will help you realize the importance of investing your very soul and 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, admit the real need of our heart and soul, and seek the help of God and a trusted counselor (if necessary) to find healing for our father-wound.
NOTE: For additional help, see the complete article, "Healing a Man's Father Wound," at http://tinyurl.com/father-wound.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, (for those of us who are parents—especially fathers) please help me to be the father you planned 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 you. And (for all of us who have a deep father-wound), please help me to face my wound and lead me to the help I need for healing and recovery so that I may become the family man and man of God you planned for me to be. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' 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.