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Manhood: A Father’s Impact

April 23, 2018 0 Comments

Almost 24% of kids in the U.S. grow up without a father and many more have grown up with an unhealthy father child relationship. A few days ago I started the Wild Life devotional / Bible reading plan on the YouVersion app (available for Apple and Android or on the computer). The plan covers the journey of three friends who spent some time with John Eldredge, the author of the book for men called Wild at Heart. Going through the plan has caused me, once again, to reflect on my own life growing up without my dad.

(Ladies this post may not be for you but you might have a guy in your life who needs to read it. Feel free to share)

My dad was my hero. You can read about him on my Father’s Day post from 2012. When I was a young kid we would go see my grandma every weekend. I loved my grandma but I also wanted to spend the weekends with my toys and my friends. One day I asked my dad, why did we have to go see grandma every week? He replied, “We don’t know how much longer she will be with us.” I knew what that meant. The day did come when my grandmother passed. Little did I know that two months later my dad would die. I was just 11 years old.

In the few years I spent with my dad he taught me some incredible lessons I have never forgotten. I learned the importance of serving others and to respect others no matter who they were. Throughout the years there would be great men who impacted my life, a few teachers, church youth leaders and pastors. However, for the most part I was on my own. At least I felt that way. 

My mom was very strong and independent in some regards. She too grew up without a dad. She was a very positive influence in my life but in many respects I did take on the man of the house role.

Growing up I was the poster child for the 90 pound weakling (though now I have gone the other direction;) then add in a bad case of acne and I always battled with my self-image. I was actually jealous of my friends whose parents were divorced.  At least they got to see their dad’s on the weekend. Warped thinking, I know.  I always found myself chasing something, anything that would make me feel important. To be honest, at 53, I find myself still chasing the same thing. 

I had to discover my own way. I learned early on how to overcome failure and keep moving forward. I learned the importance of being a constant learner. I have also had to learn to deal with anger issues, and falling into the trap of looking for self-worth in success.  One of the greatest lessons I discovered is that with any issue in life, there are no quick fixes. Rarely is there a simple multi-step program to magically make life better. (Despite what some people will try to tell you.)

Most of all I have learned the power of faith in Christ, his grace and forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit , I have learned to enjoy each day for what it is. I really do have a heavenly Father who loves me so much he sent is son to die for me. 

Overall, I think I have done alright. I have been married to a wonderful wife for over 30 years and we have three great kids. My two boys now have families of their own. I am learning the joys of being a granddad, aka Pops.

Sure, if I am not careful, I can easily slip back in to a battle with my self-image and looking for significance in the wrong areas.

In the comments below feel free to tell me about your dad.

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar Lying and posing with dad via photopin (license)

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About the Author:

I am enthusiastic about helping others discover their purpose and grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is great to see their eyes light up at their “Ah Ha!” moment when they discover they were created for something more. My hope is that this blog will help encourage and inspire you along your way. Join the conversation and take the time to share with me your own story. I have been married to my beautiful wife Janice for over 30 years. We currently live in McDonough Georgia with our daughter. Our two boys have left the nest and we have two wonderful grand kids. Of course we cannot forget about our dog Bear.