“If men only knew.”
That’s what she had said, my patient in the hospital, and I could personally attest to how correct she was. As a daughter whose father had left (the first time) when I was just four years old, I was astutely aware of the empty pit left in a young woman’s life when the first man of her dreams left her lacking. And by “man of her dreams” I didn’t mean future husband, though it certainly affected those choices as well. No, I meant her daddy. After all, a girl’s first and true Prince Charming was always the man who raised her.
“I considered myself lucky to have experienced a father’s love,” she said.
Oh, how true that was. Although my biological father had left when I was a small girl, I too had been blessed with a strong, male role model in my life. To this day I believe God gave me the gift of my adoptive father so I could truly understand the Father Heart of God. You see, that’s what men didn’t always understand. They knew what it took to make a baby, but they didn’t always grasp the follow-through. They knew what it took to help create a life, but not how important it was to also contribute to the shaping of that life.
How many woman have a hole in their heart where the love of a father was meant to go? Sadly, a lot. They attempt to fill that place inside them with the love of a man. Any man. Tragically, often times the wrong man. But what will also be missing is the example of how a female should be treated. Tenderly, compassionately, with love. A girl’s first example of true love by a male figure comes from her daddy.
Fathers have a way of conveying love through strict protection and a fierce defense that would lay down life without a forethought. Yes, Momma Bears are a force not to be reckoned, but there’s something unparalleled to the safety of dad’s big hands and the strength he provides. Perhaps it’s that spirit built within us that craves ABBA, but regardless, nothing makes you feel as secure as a father’s mantle of protection. At least until your strong spouse can take that role.
A father’s love is like a shield, and they offer this umbrella over their children to keep out unwanted influence. A daughter will feel safe and secure under his guidance, cherished and of high value when held to the guidelines of his discipline and rule. Personally, my dad was super strict, but I never minded. I knew what it was like to have a father who didn’t care about me. So, to have one who cared enough to set boundaries, rules, and curfews made me feel extremely loved.
If only dads knew.
I decided after listening to my patient talk so passionately about her father who had passed away and the positive impact he had on her life that I would be sure to relay the conversation to my husband. I knew as well as anyone that parenting was challenging, especially with multiple, young children. Some days you said things you didn’t mean or wished you could take back, and other days you wondered if you were even doing anything worthwhile for them at all. I wanted him to know. I wanted him to know the huge impact his consistent presence, love, and guidance would have on our girls.
I knew our girls would grow up not lacking the love only a father can give. I knew they would feel special, precious, and valuable thanks to his affection and attention. I knew they would have the confidence they required in life and relationships, but also the Godly and wonderful example of what a father and husband should look like. I knew they didn’t lack discipline for future success, and I knew they would never experience the same feelings of poor self-esteem I had dealt with as an aftereffect of my biological father giving me up so easily. I knew, but I wanted to make sure he knew.
Men need to know more about children then just how to bring them into this world. They need to know how to ensure those same children navigate the world successfully. And they need to know what a huge impact their actions will have on future generations.