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Children need fathers physically and emotionally

It is a new year and many children and teenagers are missing their fathers in their lives. I am not only talking about those children who do not know their fathers. I am talking about those children who know their fathers and might even live with them. The following is a letter from a child to his father who desperately wants him in his life, but he is “missing” – not physically but emotionally. The following is the letter:

“Dad, we are missing you so badly. Where are you, Dad? Dad, we need you in the kitchen, living and dining rooms, not in just the garage. We need you everywhere. Dad, Mom cannot do it all alone. God never intended for Mom to raise a son and daughter without your help. You cannot do it alone, and she cannot do it alone. Why do you go for long hours away from home? We miss you so much when you do not spend time with us or take us to the park to play. As your son, I need you the most. Without you I cannot fully develop as a man. Mom can try, but you also need to be there with me.

“Dad, I love so much, but you never taught me how to say I love you. A teacher at school spoke in class about how important love is in a family and how we must share our love with each other. You seem not to have the desire to share your love with us, Dad. That hurts me terribly. Last night I heard when you came home and started shouting at Mom because she did not have the food ready for you, then you angrily burst out the door and never returned home until this morning. Why Dad? It pained my heart to hear Mom cry. I wanted to comfort her, but I couldn’t. I am not you, Dad. Mom needs you. I need you and my little sister needs you too.

“I hear my classmates whispering behind my back about you and how you ‘love women’. It hurts to know that my father prefers to spend more time with other women and go to late-night parties with them than to spend time with us. Is it really true, Dad, that you have children with other women? Even at school, some of my classmates tease me about my half sister and brother. How could you do that Dad? How could you give your body to other women and then come home acting as though all is well – then you want to punish me for trying to kiss Carol last week.

“Do you know what really hurts me Dad? You are free to go and do anything you want to do, but you treat Mom as though she is one of the children when she wants to go places. I thought you and Mom were partners. You are not setting a good example for me, Dad. I am your son, not your colleague. That means, Dad, I need lots of love and nurture from you just as much as I need it from Mom. My teacher told our class today that we learn about loving, sharing, and caring from both of our parents. She also said when one parent does not love and share, it makes it really hard for the children to grow up as well-balanced citizens. I read in the newspaper one day that boys raised without dads have a greater risk of becoming troublemakers in society. Do you want me to become a troublemaker Dad? Your actions are telling me it’s okay to be a troublemaker. But my heart is saying no. It’s so confusing Dad.

“Dad, I need you to be my dad. I need you to set a good example for me. This is how I learn best about life. But everything you tell me not to do (don’t drink and smoke, do not have sex, don’t lie or steal) you are doing. That hurts, Dad, because deep down inside I do not want to do those things, but I know nothing else because you never really show me another way. Dad, I need you to change, if only for me and no one else. I need you to show me how to live the right way. Dad, would you please come home and stay home and be my dad? I need you. We all need you.”

Barrington Brennen is a counseling psychologist and marriage and family therapist. Send your questions to question@soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org.

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