Absentee Fathers Family Parenting

Father or Farther?

Father or Farther?

I’m reminded of a father’s day card that my second son Ankith gave me a few years ago on Father’s Day when he was 6 years old. Making a special card for his father, my little one by mistake had spelt father as “farther” in the card.

Just an additional letter “r” to the word changed its very meaning. But as I pondered, the card communicates the truth of how fathers miss out on their children by growing farther and further from their children. Most men in our culture tend to leave the responsibility of parenting to mothers and they feel it is the father’s role is to be the providers.

Yes, providing is the responsibility of the father. But providing is not restricted to financial provision. They are required to provide the needed emotional support, intellectual support, physical support, and spiritual support. I believe men have a unique role in parenting. When men are missing, parenting could be unbalanced and may produce unbalanced children. My wife Ciby always reminds me to spend more time with my boys as they are quickly growing and need my input into their lives.

I wonder why, as men, we tend to focus more on our career than on our children? I think it’s simply because as men we derive our significance from our job. While a career is important to a man, he cannot afford to pursue it at the cost of his children and his wife. Are we as men only to produce babies and then give the responsibilities to the women? I think as macho men, we need to take up more responsibilities with our children as a God given responsibility.

Time with our children is precious and it will fade away soon. If we are not there to fill our kids’ memories with fun and joy, we have missed it for life. If we have missed to influence them with godly character, we have missed it for life. We miss a vital phase and regret is the usual story of such career-minded fathers. The story of Anil and Ivan teaches us to value our time with our children and not get immersed in our careers and miss the important aspects of life. We need not wait for such jolts to learn our lessons.

Research has revealed that many women who get into unhealthy and destructive sexual habits / behavior say “they never remember a time when their father kissed them.”  Speaking to a Ph. D candidate on the topic of “missing fathers,” she says one of the key effects of this on children is their decline in education. Many engage in bullying and become rebellious.

The young boy brought to me for counseling because of his unruly behavior and decline in his studies was found to be constantly engaged with online games and television soap operas. The therapy to heal him was to get his father back. Thank God for his dad who accepted his faults with humility and wanted to do everything possible to reclaim his lost time.

Calling God my heavenly father, I just can’t imagine the absence of God in my life! I will be doomed if that happens! God is our present help in trouble. If God was too busy with everything else and if he had ignored me, what would have happened to me? Children are a gift and heritage from God and we ought to imitate God to be present when our children need us.

If we are keen to make a difference in the lives of our children, we need to make it a point to be there, when they need us. It’s only then, they will be there when you need them. May we strive to model our heavenly father to be good fathers who positively influence our children by spending more time with them. Let’s not join the club of absentee fathers who missed the bus!

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