A study was conducted involving high schoolers and their beliefs and behaviors. “We asked the students to affirm the truthfulness of the statement, “I have a close relationship with my mother. The same statement was then posed of the father. Take a look at the obvious differences in the two graphs….with the dads, there are no fluctuations; it’s a decline every year with the largest drop between ninth and tenth grades.”
I have a close relationship with my father:
9th grade: 78%
10th grade: 68%
11th grade: 63%
12th grade: 62% (1)
Although I was not surprized by this information, I was sadden by it. Today’s teenagers are growing up in a world where father seems to be out of the picture physically and/or emotionally. Many dads have chosen to “move on” in their lives, choosing to promote their own agendas instead of investing in the lives of their children when their children need them most. I see this in the corporate world; I see it in the projects.
This past weekend I had the unique opportunity to travel to Kinston, North Carolina with my oldest daughter Mariah. It was so special for so many reasons. (If a parent was to ask me how they could jump start repairing their relationship with their daughter, I would recommend starting out by taking a five hour drive! Mariah and I reconnected in a way that we never could have at home!)
One reason this time was so precious to me was because it was the first time I have gotten to return to a place where I have spoken. When I visited The Gate in 2008, I encouraged the women there to begin a Gather & Grow group for young girls. These groups are a safe place where girls can come and share their hearts and have someone just listen and help them to navigate this life with a Biblical world view. Well…they started one at The Gate did and here they are!
I opened this conference with a talk called “Daddy’s Girl”. Every one of us wants to be that…Daddy’s girl. For those of us who never felt that we were cherished by our dads, relating to God as our Father can be more than difficult. For many, images of dad conjure up pictures that are cold, distant or absent; hardly the picture of Father God. But that is not how God is! In fact, he says that the type of Father He is is one who holds his child right between his shoulders. Do you know where that it? Right next to His heart! (Deu. 33:12).
Is there a child or teen in your life who has a father who is “checked out”? A father who is not giving their child the right model of what Father God is like? Ask the Lord how you can come along side that child and make a difference in how they see the heart of God. Would you be willing to invest in the lives of a couple of girls, helping them to discover His heart? Could you spare a hour or two a couple of times a month to show what true love looks like? Please, ask the Lord if you are the one. If you hear him say “Yes” I would love to help you get started! Just email me at Lynn@proverbs31.org.
Our God is a perfect Father; let’s show the world just what that looks like!
1. “Engaging Your Teen’s World: Become a Culturally Savvy Parent” Brian Housman, Brazos Press, division of Baker Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009