Faith, Family

The Present Parent from a Fatherless View

 

As a parent the time has been flying by, somehow I’ve been a mom for over fifteen years now.  I’ve seen a lot in those years, both good and bad.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons and have so many more yet to learn.  Every person has a parent, whether that parent is present or not.  Somehow God saw fit for me to be a mom (with His MUCH needed guidance every single day) and raise two beautiful daughters.  I mess up a lot as a parent, sometimes I lose my patience and sometimes I just don’t know what to say or do for my kids.  In fact, if there is a parent out there who believes they are the perfect parent, that should be the first sign to realizing you aren’t.

One lesson I have learned is that regardless of how much I try to perfect parenthood, or satisfy my kids, or even just meet all of their needs, nothing stands out more to them than just being there.  Being a present parent – physically and emotionally. Not being around to be their BFF, or personal shopper or chauffeur or cook (although I’m pretty sure we all have felt we were at some point), but being there as a parent.

I started writing this post over a week ago, as I do with most of my blogs.  Writing usually comes naturally for me, but at times I feel a loss for words.  Usually, that happens when I’m writing something more personal.  So, why did I choose to write this for Father’s Day?  Because, my friends, the more years that pass by and the more Father’s Days I celebrate with my kids, the more I see how much being or not being an involved parent can impact a child.  And it breaks my heart.

A year ago I was a single mom.  I have celebrated Father’s Day with my daughters every year for almost their entire life. But then I married a great guy, the father of my two bonus kids (my stepsons), and I got a new view of parenting.  The blended family and co-parenting life and personally witnessing, for the first time, a father actually being involved in their child’s life.  Not that I didn’t see this growing up, I did and still do with my own parents, but I’m talking about in my own home as an adult and parent.

The Statistics

Did you know that there are involved fathers, who are present in their children’s lives?  Who love and care for their children, and make them a priority?  I know that question seems silly, but to 33% of children in the US (24.7 million), it’s a very valid question.  To my own daughters, it’s a valid question.

That means the other 67% of the population do have fathers in their life, in some way. And as we all know with divorce rates as extreme as they are, that likely around 50% of that population are children in a split and/or blended home.  I find my own family in this category, and I’m sure a good number of you can relate to these statistics.

Too often split families are bickering, arguing over co-parenting, blaming each other, and just unappreciative of the other parent due to their own disagreements or because what left them split in the first place.  I see it all the time, as a single and married person.  Among my friends, my family, and the general public.  Most split families are guilty of it, some more than others.  And at one point, very early on my own divorce, I myself was guilty of it.  Fast forward over a decade and I’m now looking at this from a different view, from the outside looking in.  I see y’all and I hear about it, and it saddens me.  And also makes me jealous.  You have two willing parents, both involved!  With all personal feelings set aside, do you know how blessed you are?

To the married parents who feel like one parent is carrying a bigger burden, or who don’t feel like the other parent is doing their share, or who simply lack the ability to appreciate each other – I see you too.  Your well-meaning comments about being stressed out because your spouse is out of town for a few days pierces a solo-parent’s heart heavier than you know.  And bless you for it because you really don’t mean any harm and have valid reasons for your stress.  But, do you know how blessed you are?

There are almost 25 million fatherless children who won’t have a dad to wish happy father’s day to today or see every other weekend, or who will go to their games or school musicals, or celebrate birthdays with them.  Nor a father to say how proud they are, or tell them that they are loved.  If you have a father in your life, remember to take the time to thank him for being there!  If your child(ren)’s father is present in their life, remember that you are one of the fortunate families to have both parents present, so please take a moment to appreciate that blessing.

And Dads, just in case you need to hear it, you matter and you are appreciated.  Your involvement and presence are worth more than you know; you ARE a needed asset in your child(ren)’ life.  My prayer for you today is that God gives you the wisdom, insight, ability, compassion, and knowledge to pour into your children.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

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