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How to Forgive, Confront, or Love a Deadbeat Dad, Not Just for Fathers Day
MR (not so) CLEAN
"PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE...."
(Norman Whitfield, 1971)
Maybe Dad was a womanizer? A person of such questionable character that he was slippery. He slid right into the prison doors, and without a doubt earned the right to live there!
Possibly He was just a sad, hollow memory of a Dad, robbed from you by a scorned Mother too hurt to consider the future consequences of lies, unethical legal antics, blaming, or using you (and your siblings) as a pawn. Although this is certainly NOT the case for every family of divorce, maybe it was for you; in essence destroying any possibility of a family bond with Dad.
Perhaps Dad was replaced and no longer needed? Your biological Dad's flawed nature made him very small and ugly in comparison to the NEW ROCK of a man your mother married. A wonderful step-Dad who became your strong foundation after the original ‘rolling stone’ tumbled away. (Thank God for great Step Fathers!)
BUT Now, you are older, wiser, and well able to handle the truth of these family dynamics. You are emotionally mature enough to know your loyalty to your Step Dad is not threatened by acknowledging your biological Dad. Yet, the idea of a relationship with your 'BIO' Dad seems foreign and unnecessary:
AND THEN YOU HEAR THE TELEPHONE RING…
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
Saturday June 19, 2010@ 7:45AM
“Hello” (No answer), “Hello?” (Several light clicking noises). “HELLO!”
…and then, a spiritless electronic voice blurts out a pre-recorded message: “THIS – CALL – IS FROM – THE - HOPE – COUNTY – FEDERAL – PENITENTIARY…”
Victoria was frightened, but something told her “you must say yes”. It wasn’t an audible voice guiding her, but instead a deep knowing, like automatically driving home by some strange human ‘auto pilot’ feature that just simply knows the right thing to do.
(Electronic Voice) “If – you – will – accept – the – charges – wait – for –the – tone – then – state – your – first – and – last – name –your-answer-will – be –recorded”
“VICTORIA HOPEWELL” she said…
Then a gruff, halting man’s voice called out; “Vito… Vito, is that you?”
Victoria literally forgot how to breathe for just a moment. She reminded herself to inhale, then exhale.
The deep gravelly voice began to shake as it said, this time a bit softer… “Vito? Please answer”.
Victoria had not been called that in years. There was only one person who called her 'VITO', just one... The man she once knew as
This Father’s Day many Dads will make a choice.They will swallow their shame and attempt to reach out to adult children who will never reach back to them. These now adult children have moved on, left the ANCIENT PAST beind them.
These Dad’s are in the midst of paying their debt to society at local jails, federal penitentiaries, halfway houses, and drug & alcohol rehab facilities across this nation and world-wide.
Dad's who are GUILTLY of serious errors in judgment, drug addiction, rash decisions made out of greed, anger, and impulse. Although their actions did not directly involve their children, the effects were certainly felt by them.
The Adult children of inmates will also make decision. Will they swallow the shame of being named son or daughter ot a convicted criminal and acknowledge their Dad behind bars? Let’s face it, there is a stigma attached to this label that cannot be denied.
How does the adult child explain to questioning friends in high school, college, potential suitors in marriage,or in some cases their own children? This is not something to be proud of! Many have lied for years that Dad “died” and “I never really knew him”. They prefer this to the truth.
This year the Jailhouse doors figuratively and literally can swing wide open for you and the Dad who help create you. Science tells us that we are both nurtured by loving parents, but also nature does play a significant part in our make-up. The good that IS in dad, is also in you. Not his actions, choices, or sins, but the human essentials that ties you to an ancient history dating far back beyond him.
Cat's In the Craddle and a Silver Spoon
745, 016 DAD'S !!!
HOW MANY FATHERS & CHILDREN DOES THIS AFFECT?
“…In 2007 there were 809,800 parents incarcerated in US prisons …of these incarcerated parents, 92 percent were fathers” (U.N., 2009)
1.7 Million Children under the age of 18 years have Parents in Prison! (Bureau of Justice, 2008).
How Many *ADULT CHILDREN* over the age of 18 years do you think are affected by this?
Quaker United Nations Office, 2009 (Retreived May 13, 2009)
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008 (Retreived May 14, 2009)
An Unlikely Scripture &
It's Unusual Implications…
PROVERBS 22:28 “Do not move an ancient boundary marker that your ancestors set in place.”
1) NO suggestion to profess or fake deep feelings of familial LOVE
2) NO mention of FORGIVENESS (yet)
3) NO discussion of burdening yourself with PITY for Dad
Just consider REALITY: There are ancient parts in you! You did not just show up on the scene 'in all your glory' without Dad's assistance. Your outward and inward parts are tied to something which dates long before DAD, grandpa, or even great-great grandpa. To cast aside important parts of your heritage is like removing an ancient landmark.
Have you ever taken time to read the Old Testament Bible?
(side note) … Torah or Curran for that matter? (Yes,they read nearly identical, remember the ~Word of God~ was written from the ANCIENT SCROLLS (now books) kept safe for centuries, long before our time, Handed down from the ancient Middle East where Jews and Muslims have always resided)
If not, take a moment to thumb through II Kings as an example. You'll notice the references to 'this one did RIGHT in the sight of the Lord.. who BEGAT that one who did EVIL in the sight of the Lord… who BEGAT that one… who did GOOD in the sight of the Lord...
They did not simply REMOVE the names of those family members who did WRONG. Their names (and recorded right or wrongness deeds) remain forever. What did those ancient people know that we don’t?
We are more than the skin we are in! It’s more than your imperfect human Dad that is at stake. Instead, it's hitting the DELETE button on things we don’t yet understand the importance of.
Similar to disrespect and irreverence for LIFE itself; It’s forgetting the face in the mirror.
Even Jesus lists some pretty ‘questionable’ characters in his genealogy; Including King David who might be labeled in our times as a man with a few ‘Rolling Stone’Characteristics. Imagine PLUCKING OUT any references to King David in the Bible due to his many faults (i.e. peeking at a bathing Bathsheba, starting an illicit affair with her, impregnating her before their wedding day... Which by the way was made possible because he murdered her husband! In his defense, King David did attempt to save the husbands, life by tricking him. However when Uriah (the husband) would not cooperate and go home to 'be' with his with he had to resort to murdered. If the husband had fallen for the bait he could have been fooled into believing the child was his own. These are just a few of his King David's 'issues'; and still, he remains in the annals of history as a great man of God and one of Jesus' own ancestors.
Do Dad's who have made terrible (NON CHILD ABUSE RELATED) mistakes deserve to be recognized by their adult children, especially on Father's Day?
Is it important to create history trails for yourself and those who will come after you? In a word, YES!
- To LEARN from
- To REMEMBER where we came from
- To LEAVE a Landmark for others after us to follow
- To RESPECT the fact we are ON PUROSE, every part of us.
So… How is this done?
Consider making a *connection with an incarcerated Dad: if this is safe, legal, and available to you. Not necessarily as a LOVINGLY DOTING ADULT CHILD, but instead as an heirs to LANDRIGHTS which belong to you: The knowledge of who and where you come from. Who knows, in the near future better things may develop such as forgiveness and maybe even love…
For you OBVIOUS:
- Fulfillment of any reasonable obligation as a child
- Being True to yourself
For you Not-So-OBVIOUS:
- Blessings in this life
- Increase your own righteousness & obedience quotient
- Forgiveness for YOU when you need it!
- Freedom that can lead to change
- A wake up call that can lead to change
- A slap in the face that can lead to change
***NOTE*** there is no mention of past CHILD ABUSE here. This is on purpose. Past or present abuse requires very special consideration and real counseling. It requires more than a few simple steps to strengthen our spirits against the stigma and shame of parental incarceration, and the precursors to forgiveness and healing (which is the focus of this post). However forgiveness is almost always beneficial for everyone, so please seek counsel TODAY if you or someone you know are experiencing abuse of any sort.
This Father’s Day can be one that sets you free! Although an incarcerated parent is restricted physically, you just might be the key that opens the door towards freedom, progress, and transformation spiritually and emotionally.
SOME HELPFUL SCRIPTURES:
“When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'What I'm about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matt 25:39 – 40,NIRV)
" Scripture says, "Honor your father and mother." That is the first commandment that has a promise. —(Ephesians 6:2, NIV)
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.(Luke 11:4, Message Bible)
SOME HELPFUL RESOURSES
(Steffsings does not endorse nor support any other the following resources, this is NOT an exhaustive list)
Christian Counselors 24 hours a day NEW LIFE / 7days a week: 1-800-new-life 1-800-229-3000