Too many of us suffer from father hunger.
He was the man who was silently present.
He was the man who disappeared.
He was the symbol of authority without relationship.
He worked so hard; he had no time for you.
How you missed him.
You spent a lifetime wondering who he was, wanting his love and wishing things were different between the two of you. You grew to accept the distant dad and the emptiness it created. But you never stopped wanting to be his special girl. You wanted him to be your friend. And this hunger you brought to every man.
Because of your hunger to be the only one, you accepted the unacceptable. Because of this hunger, you may have jeopardized your integrity. Your emotional stability and financial survival were also casualties of your desperation.
The anguish of father hunger can only be comforted when you understand that he lost himself when he was only a boy. He was never prepared to be your father or to even believe that he was worthy of fatherhood.
Maybe now you can be the only one who will know his legacy of loss, and then you will both be found by each other, by the healing powers of reconciliation.
Kiss Your Life... 365 Reasons to Love Who You Are
By: Ann Mody Lewis, Ph.D.
Reason: 248 Page: 266
Father Hunger is the silent epidemic of every culture! It is deeply rooted in our lack of appreciation of a father's presence in the lives of their child. Parental love is expected of women but not of men; consequently, men feel a lack of parental confidence that reaches back to their boyhood. During their formative years, boys are criticized for playing with dolls or anything that is construed as feminine. Thus, the boy child is isolated from values like nurturance, emotional attentiveness, willingness to be inconvenienced, loyalty, and vulnerability to intimacy. Boys learn to express love from a distance. This style of relating, burdens their adult children with wondering why their father is absent, sometimes physical and usually emotionally. Children blame themselves for being unworthy, defective and unlovable to protect their father's image but the image of the absent father lives inside every child even if they have surrogate fathers. As a culture, we cannot live like fathers-don't-matter!
If you doubt the importance of fathers consider these facts from multiple sources:
- Approximately 30% of all American children are born into single-parent homes, and for the black community, that figure is 68%.
- Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol, mental illness, suicide, criminality and poor educational performance.
- Over half of all children living with a single mother are living in poverty,
- Child abuse is significantly more likely to occur in single parent homes.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
- 72% of adolescent murders and 60% of rapists grew up without a father.
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
- Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers.
- Juvenile crime, a majority of which is committed by males, has increased six-fold since 1992.
Lawrence Tone, a noted Princeton University family historian has this to say: "The scale of marital breakdown in the West since 1960 has no historical precedent that I know of...There has been nothing like it for the past 2,000 years, and probably longer." Statistically, this means that only about 50% of children born during 1970-84 will still live with their natural parents by age 17...a staggering drop from nearly 80%.
Becoming a fatherless society should alarm all of us because both parents are needed to raise a healthy child!
Changing our perspective about fatherhood could revolutionize families. Topics for this month will include: What unique qualities do fathers contribute to a child's life? Why have we been blinded by cultural belief that 'men are not necessary in a child's life? How can inclusion of fatherhood change manhood? What personal qualities do men need to embrace fatherhood? How can fathers make life easier for mothers?