I’m still in the process of reading Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer.  The more I read it, the more I’m struck by what a huge role Chris McCandless’ father played in his life, his pursuit of adventure, and ultimately, his death.  It is frequently this way with fathers, is it not?  For good or ill, they mold us, shape us, and by either gentle or forceful turnings they play a role in our future selves.  This is true no matter how long (or short) they may be in our lives.

But most people seem to have daddy issues in one way or another.  The general issue that seems to occur (and I am being deliberately broad) is in the strength of the father.  Too often, he’s not strong enough, or he’s maybe a bit too strong.  Oddly enough, both traits commingle and sometimes exhibit at the same moment in the same person.

Fathers are immensely important to both sons and daughters.  The love of a man for his wife is necessary and must be shown in front of the children, for this provides stability.  But we must not neglect the direct love a man must have for his children.  Too much love (overprotection), not enough (manifesting sometimes either in control or isolation), or inappropriate love (abuse) all have tremendous impact on a child’s psyche, and this carries on into adulthood.  Any of these can easily cause resentment and rebellion.  The slightest word can elicit a negative response, even hatred.  The confounded father (who thinks he is completely in the right, as most people do in regards to their actions) doesn’t understand the son or daughter’s response, and too frequently they respond in kind.  Disrespect breeds disrespect, and the child becomes angry.  Angry because of the control a father exerts over his child?  That’s part of it, possibly.  Angry because of hypocrisy in the father becoming angry over his child’s actions when he himself is committing the same misdeeds?  Maybe.  But ultimately, it may just be that the child is angry because the father’s love has failed him/her.

Too often this results in anger turned inward.  “What was it in me that made my father unable to love me?” “Am I unlovable?” “Am I worth anything?”  These may seem like childish histrionics, but they are very real.  Unless these questions are answered, they will remain into adulthood.  No one but a father can answer these questions, though we may seek answers elsewhere.  Ultimately, only the one true Father can give us our value; that does not negate the role of an earthly father, however, and God knows this.

Father’s Day is just around the corner.  In an age where a father’s love is frequently a failed love, ask yourself: Am I a good father?   How would my children answer that question?  And if you have a good father, thank him for it, and praise your Heavenly Father, because not everyone is that lucky.  If you don’t have a good father (or don’t have one at all, or both), thank God that He is the best Father of all.