I sat in church last Sunday morning ready to receive a great Word as I always do to get my week started. This particular Sunday was Children’s Day and, admittedly, not one of my favorites (but I still love the babies). I expected the pastor to give a sermon for the kids since so many of them were in the audience looking up at him bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He, in fact, did talk to the kids about many things including the importance of honoring both of your parents.
“But I don’t know my daddy,” the little girl sitting next to me whispered to her mother. She gave her a stern look and the young lady immediately turned back around and stopped talking. The pastor went on preaching and spoke of how next Sunday at church would be Father’s Day, so on this day we would honor all of the single mothers in the sanctuary. The pastor ended his sermon by asking all single mothers to walk to the altar with their child or children. I watched in horror as almost half of the audience stood up and crowded around the altar. Many of the mothers–some young, some old, some way too young–stood with their arms wrapped around their children with tears streaming down their faces as the pastor prayed over them and expressed how hard he knew it was to raise their children alone. However, what really caught me by surprise was when he asked all the children in particular to listen to what he was about to say:
“As you grow older,” the pastor told them, “You’ll be faced with many decisions. It’ll start with simple things like should you study for that test or play video games. Then it will grow into bigger decisions like who you surround yourself with, constantly making the decision to be a good person or being kind to people. Life isn’t always going to be fair, but remember this: Just because someone (your father) is absent from your life doesn’t give you the right to make bad decisions as an adult especially when you know right from wrong. “
There comes a time in life when you have to stop blaming your parents for what they did or didn’t do for your own mistakes. Although I grasped what he was saying, I found myself somewhat upset at what he said. At the same time, I was totally agreeing with him.
Still, we’ve all heard the alarming statistics of fathers who are absent from the home:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
- 90%of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes.
- ?80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes.
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
- ?75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
- ?85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes.
Despite the statistics, there are many children who grow up in two parent homes, become adults and make awful choices. While it is true that at some point you need to stop blaming your upbringing for your mistakes, the role of an absent father should never be downplayed. In a young girl’s life, in particular, your father is your first love. He’s the person that teaches you how any man in your life should treat you and the one whom you look to for guidance, attention and protection. Your father is the one who helps to teach you what love is so that you won’t go looking for it in all the wrong places.
On the other hand, I have heard firsthand many very grown women (over age 30) make statements like, “I only deal with a certain type of man that’s bad for me, but it’s because I didn’t grow up with a father.” “I understand why she’s a stripper, if she didn’t have a father, it makes sense.” “He cheats on me, treats me bad and I still stay, and I know the issue is because I didn’t grow up with a father.”
There are countless statements like this made by women (and men) all over the world daily. Some live their entire lives and blame nearly every costly mistake they’ve ever made on not having a father, but as my pastor said there does come a time in life where you have to start taking responsibility for the decisions that you make.
Daddy issues are very real, yes, but for how long? I don’t know.