After having yet another heart-wrenching conversation with a young woman who has been terribly hurt by her father’s unhealed, critical soul, I feel the need to talk with current daddies, and future daddies.

I don’t know how much you understand of the deep soulish influence you have on your offspring, but it might do you well to consider this for a moment.

You, dear father, are an initiator. You are called to take the offensive and protect your family fiercely. Your footsteps are large and your stride is long, yet your children need to know they firmly fit in that print and that they’re not left behind in your dust. You lead by your example, whether healthy or diseased. So, if you observe your kiddos going down a path of damaging behaviors, please don’t throw all the blame on them for their poor choices. They just might have lacked the security of a father’s unconditional love and acceptance, desperately trying to find some comfort in substances, self-harm, or any number of rebellious behaviors.

Have your own juvenile behaviors created a switch in the parent/child relationship? Is your child parenting you now because you have never seriously dealt with your own soul hurts from your childhood? Have you thought it’s not manly to humble yourself and seek professional counseling? Are you selfishly independent, keeping others at safe distances to save face that you are unable to see the suffering it is causing to those around you?

If this is appearing condemning, let me assure you that is not my intention. I seek awareness of a foundational issue that seems to be wholly ignored lately.  Divorce is rampant and daddies are jumping ship. Many men want to produce a baby, yet not own up to the parental responsibilities that go far beyond sending a check. Even those whose presence is constant can miss the heart-cry of every child…the need to be wanted, encouraged, nurtured, and guided. It takes more than one parent to do this awesome task and it was never God’s intention to leave it up to the woman alone.

Deuteronomy 6 and 11 encourages dads to involve themselves in their kids’ lives by teaching, talking, sitting, walking, lying down, and rising up. I’m no biblical scholar, but it seems the intent is for a father to be present in the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of his child. Along with this Old Testament wisdom, the book of Ephesians simply tells fathers “don’t exasperate your children…” (exasperate: “irritate intensely; infuriate; cause irritation or annoyance to”). How are you doing in this? Are your kids relaxed in your presence or is there a constant underlying tension, that walking-on-eggshells type that makes everyone want to run and hide or stomp until those eggshells become dust?! Do your children confidently look you in the eye when speaking with you or are their eyes cast down in fear or shame?

How about the verbal communication with your loved littles? Is your voice welcoming or do you feel the need to yell and belittle to get everyone “under control”? If you have a propensity toward physical harm to any degree, are you willing to humble yourself for the sake of your family (and your own future) and get prayer, soul-healing counseling, and a support or accountability group?

My life would have been much less complex due to daddy issue damage if only my biological dad could have understood what outcomes he had a direct hand in producing. Only much later in life did I realize the extent of the daddy issues that catapulted me into some injurious behaviors. The unfettered love of my Father in heaven has done wonders in healing my pained soul, knowing that GOD is THE Father we were created to love, respect, and adore because He is so worthy and lovely.

My hope is for the church to help the men rise to the occasion…and for men to clearly see the damage that was done to them does NOT have to continue in the next generation. I’m praying that the love of God is the motivation to get beyond oneself and allow God’s healing to start you on a new parenting journey.

Your children’s emotional health is at stake and whatever choices you make will directly affect the next generation for good or for evil.

The ball is in your court.

Lori Travers

Author Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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