Being a Father to the Fatherless
This article was originally published and distributed on Medium.
Recently I started a 40 Day devotional with a group of online friends. Little did I know that by the end of the first week this would need writing.
On day 3 entitled a Tale of Two Fathers the author paints a picture of fatherhood. Fatherhood is a loose term as many of us envision a father different from what we had. There are some where the father was absent or distant. Some where their loving hearts reflects the heart of Christ.
Whichever father you did or did not have, neither can match the love of your heavenly Father.
Men tend to get consumed with work, hobbies or the hopes of never growing up that their children never know them. Careers come before family, success matters more than anything. Meanwhile small hearts break wanting just to be noticed by their fathers.
It seems in today’s world the only way these children get the attention they seek is through pain. Attempts to obtain a father’s approval seem to be in vain, the only time they are noticed is when they are in trouble. Many boys that want to become men turn to their friends as their fathers are absent. These friends are not friends really as they soon will find out when they abandon them too.
Instead of focusing on the dreams of tomorrows, their dreams get squashed. Where their fathers should stand encouraging them to succeed. Silence becomes their audience of one. Rather than learning how to tie their shoes or their first shave. Boys are left to become men on their own and learn from their friends rather than their fathers.
According to the National Center of Fathering “children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems.”
Not real encouraging is it, fatherless children are destined for an even more difficult life than we all already face. As a society whenever a lost child goes astray the first thing we look to is how they were raised. The community rallies around the mother and condemns the father whenever one goes missing.
To find the fatherless, just look around you. They could be your neighbor, your co-worker or even your friend. Many of the fatherless look just like you in the mirror, better yet maybe it is you.
I grew up with the stigma of being called an orphan or bastard. It was not that I did not have a father, I did. I was abandoned at a very early age and spent the first years of my life in foster care. I was adopted and had a father figure growing up, many are not so lucky. Many children and even adults live with the emptiness of being fatherless.
As men, whether we are fathers or not, we can change the vicious cycle of crime, poverty and more within our own communities. Simple things like giving up an hour a week and mentoring a child through an organization like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Maybe it means just lending an ear to a troubled youth that has no where else to turn. Perhaps you may even decide like my father did and adopt one of the fatherless in the system.
They are our future, this generation and the next will be the leaders of the world. It is up to each of us to give them the foundation to lead accordingly.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how we can lend a hand and become a father to the fatherless in your own community. Please share below and join the conversation on how you have or could help?
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.