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Fatherlessness the Breakdown of the Family

Updated on September 29, 2014

Bitter is the road the fatherless will have to travel

I am writing this chapter on fatherlessness in the memory of my father, who died on January 11, 2013. My father was rushed to the hospital in July 2012 for congestive heart failure. He was 87 years old at that time, and he walked up, and down three flights of stairs prior to being hospitalized almost every day. He recovered from this occurrence only to be diagnosed with cancer later.

This hub is personal, yet it is such a widespread and global reality. I pray for healing for all the fatherless wherever they may be, and the ointment for this heart wrenching wound to be poured into every heart afflicted.

In November 2012, my father, and I were talking on the telephone about the subject of fatherlessness, and I was explaining to him some of the woes which I encountered earlier in life in his absence in our home, and he told me to write it, and that perhaps it could help someone going through the same thing. I said, yeah, Dad, and told him that I would, he didn’t get a chance to read it but it is dedicated in his memory, and I think he would be pleased.


The double whammy

It is a sad time to grow up, and go through life without either a spiritual or biological father, it leaves a void that can’t be filled, but by who was appointed for both positions, the Heavenly Father and our biological fathers.

Each void leaves an emptiness that I can’t really articulate with words, nor can I adequately explain, but if you’ve been there you will know exactly what I mean. Fathers are absent for various reasons, and it takes time to adjust to any, and every reason. Yet, the pain is ever present in their absence.

We have a new kind of fatherlessness plaguing society today which war produced and is producing. This pain is old yet, it is new and it is real. Fathers now may not come home from war, producing, and adding to the fatherless cry. Yet, all fatherlessness is pain that screams and is not always heard in time.

The sore realities of wasted years bring forth bitter, and sorrowful tears. I am going back as early in my childhood as I can remember in regards to a broken home. I am the product of a broken home, broken heart, and broken life. My parents had problems that they could not resolve, and that overwhelmed them to the point of misunderstandings, quarrels, and fights, which severed our family bonds, at an early age. There are four of us two boys, and two girls. I am the next to youngest.

The first heartache I can recall is when my father, and mother broke up, it produced a broken heart. I found myself in an awkward position, in the middle of a family calamity, and crisis, which I do not believe any child, should have to ever endure. This was the onset, and contribution to much emotional instability, because I didn’t understand why. All I knew was that I needed both of them, but they grew apart, and didn’t appear to need each other. We were not a Christian family, so you probably have gathered that the resolve was not within reach.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, labor in vain. I realize now only retrospectively, that I needed a certain amount of attention that builds emotional stability to face life, this is basic attention every child needs. However, I also realize that the situations, circumstances, and conditions were beyond my parent's ability to control without God, because calamity took control over them, mishaps that only sin can set into motion. I can remember sitting on my father’s knee as he sobbed, and his tears streaming down into my forehead, as I watched him cry, and tell me how much he loved my mother.

Some of the meanings in the dictionary for broken are: out of order, not working, wrecked, busted, these not only define the outcome of a broken home, but a broken life as well. Something within the relationship breaks beyond the point of reattachment. The terminology of broken people in society today is dysfunctional. Things that are inanimate can be glued together, and only to the keen eye are the cracks visible.

Psalm 68:5-6
Psalm 68:5-6

God is a Father to the fatherless

The psalmist makes another discovery in Psalms 69:20, in which he declared that he is like a broken vessel. The adhesive for broken people will take more than any bonding agent; it will take God to piece together what has been severed.

We all know some form of brokenness that we can articulate that is problematic, and not the solution. What is the solution to brokenness? You will have to answer that for yourself.

The first aspect I would like to mention in attempting to describe the cause of a broken home is misunderstandings. Misunderstandings are largely a determining factor as to what went wrong. Misunderstandings have bags packed with confusion, misinterpretations, errors, mistakes, and a barrage of other things, which are contrary to understanding the situation in proper light.

Understanding is a treasure. The Word of God tells us in all that we seek to obtain, get understanding, without it there will be drastic darkness in a relationship. You must be willing to understand, in order to be empowered to resolve dilemma. Understanding works best when there is consideration, kindness, acceptance, and it is appreciative of all the facts. It is easier to be considerate, kind, accepting, and appreciative when circumstances are calm, and quiet, and everything is working out. It takes a greater amount of energy, and endurance when things are just not going favorably.

Kindness is something you must vow to yourself to possess, and exhibit all the time. Acceptance is something that no relationship can do without; it is the contribution we should make in every relationship we undertake.

Chiefly, without acceptance of your own self, there isn’t much chance of accepting anyone else. Consider the components of acceptance for a moment, when you accept a person you make allowances for them, the Word of God tells us that if we are strong, we must bear the infirmities of the weak. We are not to expose their weaknesses, but to provide a mantle of unconditional loyalty as we go through any loving relationship.

Understanding is a key to unlocking every truth in coping, and dealing with any opposition we will have to face. Understanding will equip us in our situations, and expose all that is adverse, so that we are better able to speak to, and in our circumstances. Understanding is the ointment necessary for every relationship to prosper.

I have problems with love that is void of the action which produces a loving stimulus, and environment. Every relationship is destined to failure without understanding. I do not blame either parent for their roles, because now I know that God is love, and without Him no one really knows how to love fully, and completely until they come into contact with this reality. Love can’t prosper without God, in marriages, families, friendships or in any other relationships desired. A man doesn’t know how to love a woman, nor a woman a man, if they do not draw from the fountain where love emanates, God is love and love is God.

Fatherhood is absolutely necessary

One of the greatest famines, and plagues in operation today within the family structure is the removal or absence of a father. It discombobulates me how a child is expected to develop to full potential without a father, when the father is the orchestration of God concerning a family.

All children are supposed to have a father, and mother; it is the plan of God and is a earthly necessity. There are many different reasons why a child becomes fatherless, yet none are really good enough when you can see the whole picture, and fathom the outcome. Death is the only one that is really out of our human control, nevertheless death separates fathers from children too.

Reasons commence with the death of a father, which is one cause of separation. There is also desertion; we know it as an absentee father in which it is his own volition in the relationship, and where he doesn’t consider the outcome of his children because his needs whatever they may be, are more profound. Another is a union, which produced two parents not being able or desiring to dwell together. Or fathers may be in the home, and still be distant from their children. There is another kind in that fathers do not know that they have sired children, or where these children are. Whatever the case may be an absentee father is a heart breaker. The prisons are full; graves are full of fathers who never had a father, sons who never knew their father, to know how to be a father.

Nevertheless, the fatherless household is real and poses great difficulties and problems in the sphere and scope of longevity and durability. Again, I must return to the fact that God created this union between man, and woman, and has granted them the possibility, and permission to multiply and replenish the earth through the process of relationships, which are governed by marriage under His divine order which influences the natural flow of order.

Let sobriety lead the way

I can understand the principles involved which speak through relationships, that one man is enough for a woman, and vice-versa, (monogamy and sobriety) because this kind of relationship involves total commitment; emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually in order to ensure the holistic, and wholeness of children to come and provide them with a strong atmosphere and environment to develop in which will yield positive, and healthy perspectives in life.

In reality a man, and woman shouldn’t even touch until they marry, to produce offspring’s, under the covering of marriage where there is safety for all. There are many causes for the home being vacated by fathers, you can probably think of your own. Nonetheless, God fashioned the union between father, and mother to co-exist under His directions, and standards and once those directives are forfeited and overlooked, there are potential long-term consequences, and problems, which are invariably inevitable. How does a man love his wife and not be sensitive to her needs as a woman, and not just her physical needs and vice-versa, that is just part of the whole, we are spirit, soul and body. There is a barrage and onslaught of needs other than physical. Spiritual and emotional health, and wellness are essential, in every one of us.

"Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25).

This insight from Scripture, tells us that a man ought to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for it. First the husband has to love the wife. Can he love her so much to give his life? Men you answer that. Wow! Healthy men and women produce healthy children, a woman that knows she is loved by her husband possesses staying power and determination that a woman who doesn’t know she is loved, or questions whether she is loved or just has to face the facts that he just doesn’t love her in the way necessary, all of the reasons spill over into the life ahead for the children even when it is unknown or unconscious.

The power of a renewed mind

Godly instructions can’t be, and will not be understood with a carnal or sensual mind. Incorporated within God’s instructions are ointments, and remedies for behavioral patterns, attitudes, opinions, thoughts, imaginations, memories, reasoning’s, rationales and judgment that need God in order to prosper in the marital union. The carnal mind is hostile towards God, and is equally hostile towards ourselves and others, we know it as self destruction.

You may say, how would you know you’re not married? I don’t perceive that I have to be married to understand what happened to me as a result of being the product of a broken home, and having to be raised by a single parent without a father.

In fact, I have my own story about being raised fatherless. A mother and a father who could not foresee or realize and know how it would affect each child individually in the distant future, but only in retrospect would they be able to reflect is not just my story but one of all the fatherless as well. As children we can’t be expected to choose one parent, unless of course that is all we know. I for one, and I can only speak for myself, was deeply troubled, affected and plunged into despair, from the time it dawned on me that my father would not be coming back into the household, I was devastated.

At the ripe age of 10 years old, it was as if a sharp weapon had severed the precious bonds of my family. Some children have never known or laid eyes on their biological father, so mother will have to do. So it appears on the surface, if you can develop a tough peripheral or exterior. Today the fatherless are being diagnosed as bipolar, having attention deficient of every kind, and criminal tendencies, and the list go on and on, of what the problem of the fatherless are. It is simply the cry of every child’s heart, “I need my father” please don’t take him away. If you are going to remove the biological father from the family equation, you will have to replace him with the Heavenly Father to produce a covering that is too important to minimize. Mothers you are loved, but please don’t ask a child to choose between the two of you, and then when they choose their fathers, perceive that as an act of treason. They will not understand this kind of split, in parental diameter.

Mother’s please don’t take it the wrong way or look at it through your own pain, but try to see the pain your child feels, and will feel as they go through this life without a father. Give them the only option that can assist them while you can, lead them to God (The Heavenly Father, and to Church) to learn for themselves and let them ultimately decide who and what they believe firsthand. At least be willing to explain the situation of separation to them as best as you can, giving them as much information that you can, so they can find a resolve to go through this life without a father and accept his absence. You will be amazed how children can process more information opposed to less. Your pain must be addressed first, before you can even see their pain. I don’t believe there is a mother who intentionally plans to give birth, and raise the child alone that is just what happens in the sphere of living. Your heart always wants to believe the father will be there for the long haul. I have to go back to God’s plan for the family.

Single parenting is not God’s perfect will for the design of family. He designed it to include both father and mother, to raise and protect their children. Fathers are role models for sons which they desperately need to grow into the men they were fashioned to be and not from beneath. The prisons are full of men who do not or probably will never know their biological father, but the Heavenly Father is there upon their willful acceptance and will be the only one they will ever know when they finally see the light.

It takes time to process, and understand a broken home. In most criminology detective type dramas on TV, when homicide detectives show up at a crime scene, they call it processing the crime scene. Processing the home is similar to this concept. Children become witnesses to other homes with two parents, in secret they wish for their fathers to return, and they hope to have a father someday. It is a real cry within every child and it is an unfilled void. If the mothers give them negative information about their fathers it serves as an escape and blueprints bad behavioral patterns, which are the results of living fatherless. Negative information about their fathers may work to their demise because it is unhelpful and can build negative characteristics, which can be destructive to them and to others. A positive son is one who knows the truth and that truth sets him free to build a positive outlook and strengthen positive characteristics.

I can only provide my take on being raised fatherless, and hope that someone out there will understand it better and be healed sooner. There are so many hurting sons, and daughters in the world who need the ointment it takes to heal inside, and to live productive and happy lives. Of course, my answer to living productively will always be not living without God, no matter what your case scenario is.

Even in the valley where sorrow and pain seems to scream and cry out loudest, there is relief, because He is joy in sorrow and hope for tomorrow. Where do broken hearts go, and can they find their way home? That is a line from a song Whitney Houston used to sing. Deep and profound, it also asks a question. I answer it with, my broken heart went to God one day and I found my real home and the path through Jesus Christ. This earth is not my real home, but I am positioned here for a length of time and I am passing through and occupying until He returns.

You don’t have to wait as long as it took me to understand the plague of being fatherless, and it is not either parent’s fault from where I am at this time. Yes, being raised fatherless is an outbreak and plague assigned against the family structure. It infects and afflicts as it passes through family after family. It even contaminates those who have fathers because they will inevitably meet up with the fatherless and have no experience in this area or how to deal with it.

Parents it may be beyond your ability to comprehend or to even resolve, this thing called separation, but I pray that you will factor into the equation durability and endurance to see that the bond of your family is in your hands. Consider the cost, weigh the whole problem and find the best resolution for each member of your family is my earnest hope for all.

Marriage is a sacred vow
Marriage is a sacred vow

Marriage is still a sacred vow

Marriage is a holy institution and a sacred vow. The foundation must be built upon the Word of God, because He created and instituted the sanctity of it. People take marriage too lightly; it is more than reciting vows, it requires believing in the vows and utilizing every effort to implement and carry them out, regardless of opposition. Marriage is a sacred vow.

It astounds me how parents just decide that they can’t tolerate or endure each other anymore without first considering the wellbeing of their children first and foremost. The morbid reality is that they don’t know how to provide for the holistic and whole need of a child, because their needs were never met as a child. How can a woman say that she loves her husband and not be sensitized to his needs and vice-versa?

Let’s take a look at some of the traditional vows most married couples recite. Do you take this person to be your lawfully wedded husband and wife? They say I do. Will you take them for better or worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part? They say, yes, but how many people really believe the vows they recite? I will let you answer that for yourself.

This is one of the reasons the separation and divorce rates are so high. The long haul is suggested in these vows, but there is no substance or evidence of believing in the significant other quite that long. Imagine telling your child, your father or your mother and I can no longer get along for whatever convoluted reason can be conjured up, so we have decided to separate, then picture the child saying but you and mom told God that you would stick together for better or worst. I just wonder if it would make them accountable for their actions, or would they find some other feeble excuse why this is not applicable. What a farce! Please forgive my tone here and in some other instances within this hub; this subject can still strike a somber chord in my heart.

Well, after the separation, that chapter passed and we moved in with my grandmother for a while until my mother found us an apartment. This is when life unraveled for me, and brokenness became my dictator. I can honestly say that I was not equipped to deal with growing up, or the cruel realities waiting. No child is equipped or ready for growing up without two parents; it is something you learn to accept in the interim and process we call time, making it a learned acceptable attitude.

I got mixed up with the wrong crowd and began my life in the fast lane, cutting school and all types of rebellious and deviant behaviors surfaced. This is how I learned to deal with life outside of the home. We never know what is waiting around the corner.

Fatherlessness produced in me a privacy and secrecy to myself that was not favorable for me. Hanging around with the wrong crowd will cost you more than choosing to associate with the right crowd ever will. It can also open doors that you are not equipped as a child or teenager to walk through. Mostly all of the fatherless face a protective shield being torn down, that was supposed to be a hedge around them that stops invasion from the outside. Fathers are designed to be protectors and to provide an atmosphere of safety for the wife, and children. If he is removed from the home that protective shield is demolished and vanishes also.

My father was a very, very protective man; he hedged his children in, the time he was permitted to oversee his family. One day after school I didn’t go directly home but stopped off at a classmate’s house around the corner from my home on the way home from school. My father rounded up a posse from the block we lived on and the surrounding areas, and was searching for me all around the neighborhood. I don’t remember the particulars after being found, no I didn’t get a beating. I do remember being told not to wander off after school, but to come straight home. In many ways he was protective, and I must admit I felt safer when he was on active duty in the family than I ever did when he was gone. There really is a protective shield that fathers have; it is like a super hero type of scenario.

I am climbing out of this natural picture for a while. The only protection that I have ever experienced in this life other than the protection from my biological father is that of the Heavenly Father. It is a protective sheltered place. I see why King David would refer to God as a shield, buckler, and refuge because in Him there is safety from all the world can possibly throw at you. There is no safer place to position your life but under the shadow of His Mighty Hand. I know, that I know, if my parents had been under the guidance of God, our home would have withstood all adversity, and this I now know, but only retrospectively.

If you can hear me through this chapter in life, I ask you please, and I beseech you give God a chance to help your family situation before you throw in the towel. He is a heart regulator and fixer and can fix any type of brokenness. There are also those times when He fixes it after the brokenness, so that you can understand it and it doesn’t spring up any roots of bitterness against anyone and that you forgive everyone involved, which is my case. Forgiveness is an essential element in brokenness. It is only when you choose to blame someone that you don’t choose forgiveness. It is always a choice only we as individuals can make. Forgiveness clears the air and cleanses the heart from offenses past and present and stops bitterness from surfacing and tarnishing others in the future.

The remedy and answer to fatherlessness is found in Jesus Christ who unselfishly shares His Father with us. Spiritual fatherlessness is worse than the physical type. Sad to say, my biological father passed away on January 11, 2013, he was 88 years old, this chapter is all about my life without him and now his life has ended, but I thank God for his life. We used to have all types of dialogues in person and long distance telephone conversations,

in one of the last times we conversed, it was about this stance and overview I take on fatherlessness, and understanding those who are still stuck there without even realizing it. I told him about this chapter and he asked me to continue to write it, because so many people in the world needed to hear that to be fatherless is not a joke, and perhaps what I write could wake up and provide awareness of what appears to be a swept under the carpet subject. Whatever your situation may be, if it entails being raised fatherless, I encourage you to turn to the Heavenly Father because He has everything you will ever need in this life, and He loves you with a steadfast love. God is the ointment to fatherlessness, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let Him heal you!


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    • mabelhenry profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Harrisburlg, Pennsylvania

      Hi Romeo:

      Thank you for your kind words. Bless your heart you purchased the book. I pray that is will be a perfect gift and bless your sister. Have a grandiose day!

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      5 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Firstly, may I offer my sincere condolences for your loss. Life certainly was no picnic for you growing up - look how far you have come, dear Mabelhenry!

      Received your new book yesterday, which will make the perfect present for a sister on her birthday - marvellous work.


      With Kind Regards,



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