Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Essential Father

On this Father's Day, I want to appreciate dads who are trying their best to be involved in the lives of their children. Even if you are learning as you go, your participation and involvement count. Don't ever underestimate your role.

In his book, "bringing up BOYS: Practical advice and encouragement for those shaping the next generation of men," Dr. James Dobson included a chapter on "the Essential Father" which shares the following research findings:

  • There is an undeniable linkage between fathers and babies beginning at birth.
  • Infants as young as six weeks old can differentiate between a mother's and a father's voice.
  • By eight weeks, babies can distinguish between their mother's and their father's caretaking methods.
  • Infants are born with a drive to find and connect to their fathers. As they begin to speak, their word for "father" often precedes their word for "mother." The reasons for this are unknown.
  • Toddlers are especially obvious in their assertions of fatherneed: they will seek out their father, ask for him when he's not present, be fascinated when he talks to them on the phone, and investigate every part of his body if allowed.
  • "Teenagers express fatherneed in yet more complex ways, competing with their father and confronting his values, beliefs, and, of course, limits. For so many sons and daughters, it is only at the death of the father that they discover the intensity and longevity of their fatherneed, especially when it has gone begging.
Dr. Dobson went on to show many statistics and trends about effects of fathers on the lives of sons. Here is the story of one such person he met:

"A fifty-eight-year-old man who described the unhappy memory of his father. His dad had been a minister who was consumed by work and other interests. This faher never came to sporting events or any other activities in which his son was a participant. He neither disciplined nor affirmed him. By the time the boy was a senior in high school, he was the starting guard on a winning big-school football team. When his team qualified for the state championship, this boy was desperate to have his dad see him play. He begged, "Would you please be there on Friday night? It is very important to me." The father promised to come.

On the night of the big game, the boy was on the field warming up when he happened to see his father enter the stadium with two other men wearing business suits. They stood talking among themselves for a moment or two and then left. The man who told me this story had tears streaming down his cheeks as he relived that difficult moment of so long ago. It had been forty years since that night, and yet the rejection and disappointment he felt as a teenager were as vivid as ever. A year after our conversation, this man's father
died at eighty-three years of age. My friend stood along before his dad's casket at the funeral home and said sorrowfully, "Dad, we could have shared so much love together--but I never really knew you."

Do you feel the pain of this man? Are you and/or someone you know also yearning for the love of a father? Don't give up!

The "Father's Love Letter" shares the heart of our Heavenly Father, the Creator God, who loves you and me unconditionally. This letter has helped millions of people, including me -- in print, audio and video -- when something triggered us into depression and anxiety.

For English go to
For Chinese go to

Let us honor our Abba Father who created us and has given us new lives in Christ. May God help you to get along with, enjoy, and influence your children for years to come!

Do you have a special father-child story to share? If you write me by midnight (PST) Thursday, August 16th, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a zero-cost 30-minute phone coaching session on parent-child relationship.

Happy Father's Day!

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Want to reprint this article? No problem! Just make sure you include a complete attribution and, whenever possible, a live link to our website. Please notify Winnis where and when the material will appear. The attribution should include this information:

Winnis Chiang, LMFT and Founder of, specializes in helping Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking high-tech Christian parents to get along with, enjoy, influence and equip their American-born Chinese children.


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