Monday, April 8, 2013

Father's: Shepherding His {Black} Sheep

Father's and Leadership 

Father's have authority over their children just as God does over all of us. Father's, as like God, are not equals to their children and hold a position of leadership over them. However, with that leadership comes the responsibility of leading with loving discipline, not iron clad control.

There is a huge difference between loving leadership & rigid control.

Leadership brings.... love, listening & talking, character,& wisdom, stability, protection, respect and calm strength.

Control brings....rigidity, preaching, condemnation, 
scapegoating, disrespect, detachment and a temper.

Be assured that as a father you hold enormous power for good or bad. Especially in regards to your children. Father's have the ability to receive their children's respect or lose it.

If as a father you lose your child's respect, you risk alienating your child long term or having a relationship with them at arm's length. Because even if they forgive you (which hopefully they will) for whatever the long lasting ramifications are from your estranged relationship they may keep their distance and guard their heart so as not to risk any further hurt induced by you.

There are many ways to lose your child's respect which can range from failing to look out for them, scapegoating them for all the problems that have arisen from your failures in parenting, lying to them,  treating your spouse (their mother) badly and many more.

When father's scapegoat and use one of their children as the "problem" for all the issues in a family they contribute to their child who is the black sheep to have contentious relationships with their siblings. Some level of competitiveness is always there between the healthiest of sibling relationships but when one child is pegged the "black sheep", one child is deemed the favored "golden child" and another is just tolerated with apathy it deeply affects the family dynamics.

If you paint your daughter as a "black sheep", as a father you are walking a very dangerous path. Because when you do this you are not providing for her needs. In fact, you are contributing to setting her up to find someone who WILL meet her needs. Hence the unhealthy cycle continues.

As a father it's crucial you talk with your daughter about God, men, relationships, boundaries, respect, drinking, drugs, sex and limits. Ask her what she sees for her future, ask her what her greatest achievement thus far has been, ask her what she wants to accomplishment one day. All these questions open the door for more in depth conversations so you can develop the bond with her that is so important. Ask her what she sees herself doing career wise one day. Ask her how she would change the world if given the opportunity and what speaks to her heart.

Ask her questions versus just talking AT HER...

There is a huge difference between listening and having a discussion and just preaching at her. Your questions are always appreciated. She wants to be heard. Find out what is going on in her head, what she's thinking about instead of just projecting what you deem right for her and walking away believing your job is done.

Encourage her to use her God-given talents and intelligence to further the world in some beneficial way such as in medicine, science, teaching, art, music, design, etc. Let her know that she is a valuable asset to this world and God can use her to do great things. Yes, she can become a wife and mom, but remind her it's vital for her to be prepared to potentially have a career of her own in the case she doesn't marry or even divorces. Let her know whatever path she may choose, God and yourself are there to guide her and neither of you will ever reject her.

When I left home at seventeen I had for years felt rejected by my father. The rare car rides I had with him during my childhood were filled with awkward silence. Once, I, like my siblings, had reached the age past around five or six, he didn't know what to do with us. The little girl he had chased all over the house on all fours like a bear leaving her shrieking with glee was now a distant stranger. He didn't know what to say, what to talk about or how to interact. It leaves you feeling rejected and questioning whether it's really you. The day I returned home from being gone and walked up to that front door my dad clutched me and hugged me like no tomorrow. His muffled "I love you" was the first one I'd heard since around the age of six. I'll never forget that single "I love you". I erronously believed his lack of love shown reflected God's lacking love for me also. It wasn't until years later I learned he never looked for me. My mother and grandmother contacted the police, drove all over town searching for me, put up fliers at the local high school asking for help, hired a private detective and more. My father was busy working and "couldn't take the time" to join in the search for me. I had left and yet it added insult to injury to know he at the end of the day didn't care. His focus of how I had "embarrassed" him overshadowed any love. It wasn't until after I was back that his control worsened and I was pegged the "black sheep" and the cause for any future issues for years down the road that arose in the family.... despite a professional telling him his behavior was the kick start to any family issues. 

What a father does matters. 

Leading as a father takes faith, love, strength, humility, respect, stability and protection for your children. A child's perception of their father will in turn be whatever their perception of God is. If their perception is less than stellar or even seriously lacking this will no doubt in turn affect their view of what God is like.

Daughters can remind themselves that no matter what their father did or didn't do, no matter how much he may have lacked in his role, God is there to lead you and like a sheep will guide you when you stray. We don't have to question His love, we don't have to accept someone's negative labels. We can know our great value to God, His constant love and that He will always search for us and bring us home.

We are the sheep, the Lord is our Shepherd and His love for us is greater than anyone's.

© ~ 2013 

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing! 

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