“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Now continue in my love.’’ (Joh. 15:9)
Absent earthly fathers: the ripples on society
Regarded as the first global study on fatherhood, the SOWF (State of the World’s Fathers) report sites a number of vital facts about the importance of fathers on the development of children’s lives, including:
- Involved fatherhood helps children thrive.
- Involved fatherhood allows women and girls to achieve their full potential – now and in future generations.
- Involved fatherhood makes men happier and healthier.
- Fathers want to spend more time with their children.
- Men’s participation and support are urgently needed to ensure that all children are wanted.
- Men’s greater involvement in care work also brings economic benefits.
Adversely, it has widely been studied and proven that the lack of a father in a child’s life has far-reaching consequences:
This video, titled Black America Needs Fathers, stemming from the current tribulations surrounding the #blacklivesmatter protests, is a powerful testimony to the dire need of fathers in these young lives, and the ripple effect of each generation’s anger upon the next.
Dr Timothy Khoo, former Director of Prison Fellowship International for Asia and the Pacific did research on the main cause of crime in Singapore during the early 1990s. According to his findings, very few of the ‘’traditional’’ explanations for crime (like poverty, joblessness, poor education, insufficient policing or too light sentences) were applicable to Singapore (where job opportunities are plentiful, policing is considered of a high standard and some of the strictest laws are applicable). Yet, in spite of this, Singapore still had 12 000 convicted felons (out of a population of 2.8 million).
His extensive research came to the conclusion that: even though the individual history and circumstances of prisoners differed, they provided feedback on one common feature: at a young age, they had a bad relationship with their dad.
Dr Khoo concluded that the main cause for crime in Singapore was the lack of an internally strong moral base and the lack of interest of a dad during the age of zero to four years for this moral vacuum, especially if the mother also displayed weak leadership. Turning your back on a life of crime is an internal matter.
Many movements and organisations around the world also seek to address the challenges of fatherless communities. Take The World Needs a Father (movement) and Growing Up Without A Father (foundation) as examples.
There is also Rob Kenney who was abandoned by his father at 14 years old, who recently became the internet’s dad by offering weekly tutorial videos of basic tasks to help those who don’t have a parent to learn from.
Kenney launched his YouTube channel titled “Dad, how do I?” on 2 April 2020 and already has 2.38 million subscribers.
Relating to a Heavenly Father
According to Dr Khoo who we mentioned above, the most important factor leading to a lifelong rehabilitation is ‘’a true, religious conversion.’’
The father heart of God is that we live out of the security of enjoying his love and in being his children.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
For many coming from fatherless or broken father-child relationships, the concept of a loving Heavenly Father will however be difficult to grasp or embrace. How can we relate to the father heart of God through the lens of a broken or non-existent relationship with our earthly fathers?
The answer lies here: when Jesus returned into heaven, he sent us a Helper. The Holy Spirit not only enables us for the mission of spreading the gospel and walking in holiness, but he is also the bridge between us and God: the One who will miraculously reconnect us to experience a deep loving and intimate relationship with the Father.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John :12)
Petra Institute: Building communities where children are welcome
At Petra Institute, we are not only concerned with the children in the church but especially those outside the church who grow up without hope and love, and who are emotionally wounded, alienated, and lost.
We share God’s desire for the lost and broken children to be found and restored to healing Christian families and communities, to join Him in transforming society.
Active partnerships, both with churches and organisations that are working in the context of poverty, emergency, and persecution, are therefore central to our model. We focus on building capacity for children’s ministry within partnerships with denominations or organisations. Through the course ‘Entering the World of Children’, children’s ministry workers are equipped to guide children into a relationship with God the Father as their personal Heavenly Father. Through the ‘Helping Children Grow in Faith’ course, children’s ministry workers are equipped to guide children into a deepening relationship with God.
One of our specialised courses, Walking with Wounded Children is designed to equip children’s workers on a fundamental level to help emotionally wounded children.
To learn more about our specialised courses, please visit: https://www.petra.co.za/specialised-courses/