The Father Figure
Parents are central to a child’s life; they are the primary caregiver and the child’s first social institution. As a result, the type of relationship between a child and their parents greatly influences how the child grows up.
A common misconception is that mothers bear the most responsibility for raising a child and thus have the most influence. After all, society has portrayed mothers as staying home while fathers work. A mother gives care, whereas a father puts food on the table. As a result, the mother appears to have a greater influence on the child’s life than the father. However, a special relationship between a father and a child has been discovered; the father’s impact on a child is undeniable and unique.
Impact of Dads
Many studies have examined fathers’ impact on kids. How a father treats his child from infancy to adulthood affects the child. Studies have looked at young men and women’s tendency to engage in sports and other activities their fathers enjoyed to gain their approval and attention.
A father’s emotional involvement with his daughter has boosted her self-efficacy, competence, self-worth, and emotional regulation. A daughter with a hostile or absentee father may develop low self-esteem, a need for attention, and emotional insecurity. Absent and emotionally distant fathers may foster homosexual tendencies in sons.
The Longing for a Father
A father’s influence on a child can be good or bad. What about those with absent, hostile, uncaring fathers?
God knows our needs before we ask. Because of the father-child bond, we must pursue God even more. If our earthly father didn’t care for us, our Heavenly Father will. Heavenly Father welcomes us and meets all our emotional needs.
A child’s self-worth reflects a father’s love. Positive father-child relationships boost self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. We have a Father in Heaven who disciplines us out of love and accepts us just as we are.
The Father and the Prodigal Son
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is the greatest story of parental love. Luke 5:11-32 recounts a young man who asked for his father’s inheritance. The boy left his father’s house and wasted his money. He endured famine, harsh working conditions, hunger, and poverty. He only realized, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” The young man returned home to his father’s open arms.
During a difficult time, the young man realized how much love, compassion, and blessings he had from his father. He missed his father so much that he returned home and repented. Complex life situations, especially those involving a wrong decision or mistake, can lead to self-pity and self-deprecation.
Moral from the story
However, the story of the prodigal son teaches us that God does not punish those who return to Him in repentance. Because of His fatherly love, He is willing to forgive and accept us, no matter how heinous our actions against Him may have been. We may have made a poor decision that has put us in a bad situation, but we do not have to be bound by the belief that we do not deserve God’s forgiveness. If we are willing to go to Him, God is more than willing to forgive us.
Bad decisions and situations do not have to cause a schism between God and us. On the other hand, our mistakes, failures, and shortcomings can help us return to God and make us crave Him even more.
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