By Andrea Guachalla
We who live in fatherlessland know all the scenarios where dad should be there, but for one reason or another, he’s not. We know how it feels to be the only one dancing with their older brother because dad wasn’t there for the “father and daughter dance” on our graduation day, and we know how it feels to go to school with mom instead of dad on Father’s Day.
We know all the excuses, all the attempts of making it up later, and we know for sure that whether it’s because dad is too busy with work, or because he doesn’t live with us, or because he just does not have much interest in spending time with us. We are not living in fatherlessland alone. Although not everyone is a citizen here for the same reason.
Most people here are fatherless because their parents didn’t ever get married, some others are here because of the crazy high rates of divorce that end up having the children being raised by a single mother (very rarely is the custody given to the father). Some others have their father incarcerated, and a lower percentage because their fathers died for whatever reason. According to some research done in the United States, five out of ten children are raised by a single parent, and four out of those five have very little if any interaction with their father.
If you do some research studies made on the goodness of having a father at home for the mothers and children, you would be surprised: Cognitive stimulation, healthy social development, positive impact on the mother and children’s health, and even some things that just sound odd: having a dad around apparently prevents the babies from waking up so often at night.
Of course, there are many studies done on the effects of not having a father, that usually come with emotional and spiritual challenges later in life. Not having a father while growing up might influence your academic performance, social adjustment, and behavior, and is sadly something that many people endure, remember the statistics I mentioned before? All of this brings us to one question: How did we end up here? When did fathers start taking the liberty to not be fathers? And the answer is: sin.
Seeing fatherlessness so often is certainly not in line with what the Bible says about the role of husbands and fathers: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)? and “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (2 Timothy 5:8).
Whether your father is Christian or not, the reason he doesn’t fulfill his role is the same: Sin. Instead of having fathers that honor God by loving their wives, providing for the household, instructing, and correcting their children, we are left with fathers who don’t take their role of fathers seriously.
Years ago, I used to get mad whenever I came across this verse:
“Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord has commanded you…” (Deut 5:16),
I would go to the New Testament trying to escape from it, only to find:
“For God commanded ‘honor your father and your mother’ and ‘he who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death’ ” (Matthew 15:4)
So we are called to honor our parents, called to honor our father but… Why would I do it when I live in fatherlessland? It’s so easy to justify our ignoring these verses with our circumstances. When we are fatherless to any degree sometimes the only thing we can say when we read those verses is: Why should I? And that’s the question we’ll answer in the second blog of this series.
But now, let me end by saying that though we are fatherless we have the greatest comfort:
If we believe in Christ and repent of our sins, God is our Father:
“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
Frazier, Danielle M. “The Correlation between Attachment Style, Self-Esteem, and the Psychological Well-Being of Fatherless Women Ages 25–55.” PhD diss., Capella University, 2019. https://search.proquest.com/openview/107e0df2285bbd4d9f305d3a51551431/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y