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The Talk: How Our Fathers Define Us

From conception on, it's a Dad's job to define and conquer (on his kid's behalf). That includes conquering moments when he feels like retreating.

Since January, we have walked alongside one another, TALKING to
our kids about matters of sexuality. Now, we approach the end of our journey. Soon we will move on to new “Growth Chart” topics (the final article in this series posts next week).

“The Talk” WILL go on though.

It must, if we want to guide our kids toward healthy perspective/choices concerning sexuality.

In this series, we’ve learned how important it is to respond to our children’s curiosities simply, honestly and without giving them cause to
feel that they’ve asked something “inappropriate.” We’ve learned that our
sexuality is not just confined to our “sex parts," that it is more like a
golden thread that runs throughout our entire being (mind, body and spirit). It is something to be treasured. Who we are as women and men (our Spiratomy!), though housed in our bodies, is certainly more than our bodies. 

Dear Patch Parents, we have an awesome responsibility to raise our children to be informed so that they have the “tools” to make the very best choices with their lives, in all things, especially choices concerning sexuality and sexual activity/abstinence. In that way, they can rest in true femininity or masculinity.

Because each gender (and each person) has a unique “Spiratomy," Moms and Dads bring something different to the table in showing kids what it
means to be a man or a woman. The deep desires of our spirits that can’t be seen in our physical anatomy are both inborn and fostered (nature AND nurture).

Who we become and how we live out what is already within us, is, in great part, shaped by the parents who raise us. If you are an adult child of parents (we all are) you know it to be true.

Moms — you are of infinite worth. No one can ever replace the nurturing love, guidance, discipline, good sense, firm words and good example you
provide as you live out daily life. The influence you exert on your kids (and your true feminine beauty) will influence generations to come in ways you cannot even imagine right now (except when you consider a woman — a mother, grandmother, aunt or mentor who left the indelible imprint of her life on yours).

That said, what I’m about to say may ruffle some Mom-feathers. It may rock some Dad-worlds.  

Sometimes we need to be shaken so that we remember just what’s at stake with our parenting.

Dads — this is a word for you.

Last fall, in my series, I wrote: “Dads, I cannot over-emphasize your role in affirming your daughters.”

It’s true for your sons, too. 

It’s not that what we moms do is “less important." Our impact is exponential.

Yet, in an incomprehensible, perhaps supernatural way, what Dads do
somehow carries more weight than all that we moms have to offer.  

Is the earth trembling? I hope you will comment on these bold words!

Before you discount this assertion, ask a daughter who grew up without the perceived love and affirmation of her father. Even if she had the most loving mother in the world, even if she grew up to be high functioning and successful and fulfilled by many wonderful relationships, there is a place within that feels empty. She wonders: “am I beautiful?” She feels as if she may never really know.

Ask a son who felt constant pressure from his father yet never
felt he measured up. He wonders, “Why wasn’t I acceptable?” and “Do I have what it takes to be a ‘real man?'”

Ask a man who was left fatherless, either through abandonment or death. A part of himself is missing.

Our fathers define us. Our fathers are meant to fight on our behalf as they help shape who we become. 

Think about the “battle” and “definition” that happen from the very beginning — at conception. The particular sperm that fertilized our mother’s egg won a race to define us, determining our gender, our DNA, the essence of what our bodies would look like! 

When we are born, we are given our father’s name, providing our identity. As our fathers affirm us, that identity deepens.

Our fathers’ words, actions and presence shape us in unspeakable ways and help solidify (or break down) our security as women and men.  

Dads — it’s not just important when our children are young. Your children still need you in their adolescent years, perhaps more than ever.

Maybe you’re feeling as though it’s getting harder to relate to your pre-teen daughter. Or you’re lacking patience with your adolescent son. Part of you is saying, “Retreat.”

Don’t do it. Press in. You have a battle to fight. And a Beauty to shape. One of the greatest ways you can enter into the battle is by praying for, with and over your child. You also do battle against the negative influences of your child’s world simply spending time with your son or daughter and opening dialogue with him/her.

Did you know that it is FATHERS who CALL FORTH the femininity of their daughters? That it is FATHERS who build up the masculinity of their sons?

Read the finale of this series next week to learn how and why ...

Diana R March 26, 2012 at 10:55 PM
There is much i agree with in this article...but all i seem to want to say is...with all the absent fathers where do these kids go for that missing piece?
Donna J. Noble March 27, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I address that in the program I teach for teen girls ("Standing on the Heights"). I believe that men in the church and in the community can and should stand in the gap. Grandparents and teachers can rise to the call. Youth pastors. We certainly need to teach our sons and daughters to be cautious. We need to teach them how to be discerning in determining whether a mentor is trustworthy. The criteria? Guess what? You just inspired my next article after this series, Diana! Stay tuned...
Donna J. Noble March 27, 2012 at 01:46 AM
In my program, we do a lot of father-daughter activities. Whether a girl's dad is sick or busy or not in her life, we've always found a way to work with that in a way that still affirms the girls whose fathers are absent for one reason or another. A grandfather comes to the event. The youth pastor steps in. Sometimes all we can do is affirm one another as women and acknowledge the missing piece. Affirm the girl whose dad is not there. I remember saying to one girl when we had a dad-daughter swing dance lesson and she was alone: "It really stinks that your dad is not here. I know you're sad about it and I am too. But guess what? I know I'm not gonna be too great at it, and I don't look anything like him, but I'm gonna be your dad tonight!" I learned the guy's part, and we had fun dancing together. No one glossed over what was missing. We just tried to acknowledge it and cope. How much better equipped we are to deal with reality when we do not sweep it under the rug. Women who felt emotionally abandoned by their fathers always cope...but some of the coping mechanisms we've used are less than healthy, to say the least. For the daughters among us who face that now, we need help them face that "missing piece" (as you so appropriately labeled it) head on.

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