“Daddy, watch me!”
It’s likely you said this phrase – or a similar one -- as a child. It’s a kind of universal language for children, an expression of our intrinsic longing to be seen, approved and accepted by our dads. Whether it was nailing that back flip off the diving board, shooting hoops in the driveway, or a straight-A report card, we longed to hear him say, “I love you and I’m so proud of you.”
Dr. Peggy Drexler wrote about this longing in a Psychology Today study of 75 high-achieving women. “No matter how successful their careers, how happy their marriages, or how fulfilling their lives, women told me their happiness passed through a filter of their fathers’ reactions....Even for women whose fathers had been neglectful or abusive, I found a hunger for approval.”
In his book, Man Enough, Dr. Frank Pittman describes this same hunger for approval in men: “Life for most boys and for many grown men is a frustrating search for the lost father who has not yet offered protection, provision, nurturing, modeling, or, especially, anointment.”
That word “anointment” refers to being chosen, blessed…approved. It’s indicative of something intrinsic in our wiring that makes us all crave the approval and admiration of a father.
Maybe that blessing has been there in your life. If it has, take a moment today if you can to tell your dad how grateful you are for him! If it hasn’t, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one in four American children today live without a father in the home. In many cases, “admiring,” “approving,” or “affirming” would be the last words we’d choose to describe a father. The words more likely to rush into our minds may be:
It’s no wonder this generation has been labeled “fatherless.”
But there is good, good news for all of us today. No matter the character of your earthly father or the state of your relationship with him, there is a perfect Father who wants to be in a perfect relationship with you. You already have his affections. You already have his love. He is waiting to shower you with his blessing. He is everything you wanted your earthly dad to be and more.
Over the next five days, we’ll see how we can find freedom as His loved sons and daughters.