Deprivation can be an awful thing. There are many serious poverties in the world today. But there is one poverty that is too easily overlooked and yet produces some of the most far-reaching effects upon destiny that one can imagine. This is the poverty that comes from the lack of a father’s blessing.
Scripture shows us from the very beginning of creation that there is a fundamental principle for growth and well-being. This principle is even more necessary in a fallen world. The principle shown to us by God himself is that if something is to flourish, the good must be correctly recognized and properly blessed. Pure and simple. God’s joyful affirmation of the work of his own hands ignites creation’s growth and development and multiplies its fruitfulness. Our heavenly Father blesses our world from its inception.
The fruit of every womb too awaits blessing, a blessing that God has willed should come in a special way from fathers. Without this blessing, even mothers can find it harder to receive their children as gifts from God. (Seventy percent of all women who have had abortions cite the father of the child as the primary influence in their decision.)
Without the blessing of fathers, wherein the goodness of each child is personally acknowledged and celebrated, we end up with a society of orphans, children who grow up with a gnawing hunger for acceptance, for an affirmation of their very existence.
Consider the consequences of fatherless homes:
“85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes. The absence of a biological father increases by 900 percent a daughter’s vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse, and for boys has been linked to sexual maladjustment and greater and greater aggressiveness or exaggerated masculine behavior.
“63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. And 70 percent of youths in state institutions come from homes without fathers.”
The United States has the highest rate in the world of children who are not living with their biological fathers (25 million). The wounds created in a child by this are numberless. The fruit of non-blessing causes people to labor under unnecessary weights and burdens that can drag them to despair and eventual destruction. This is not just a psychological principle: It’s a deep spiritual one.
Today, there are mountains of books written on discipline and parenting. None of these are nearly as important as understanding the power of a father’s blessing, presence and involvement in the life of a child. His role is irreplaceable.
If people want healing in their families, and by extension, in society, they must learn what real blessing is and start blessing. Blessing will stabilize and set the foundations for restoration. Blessing will strengthen and multiply the goodness already present. Cursing and blaspheming, berating, criticizing and nit-picking, so prevalent today as to often go unnoticed, will bring a house, a family, to ruin in no time.
There is no greater need today than that the hearts of fathers be turned to their children. A child may occasionally abuse his parents’ blessing as the prodigal son did; yet, it was that father’s very blessing which drew him back home and restored him.
There is hope. Malachi prophesied almost 25 centuries ago (3: 23-24): “Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, Before the day of the Lord comes, The great and terrible day, To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the land with doom.”
Scripture provides the warning, but also the remedy once we have lost the gift. “… A father’s blessing strengthens the houses of the children…” (Sirach 3:9), and all creation looks forward to the revelation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).
All society awaits the peace and order and benefit that will come when fathers truly learn the transforming power of God’s love which is theirs to communicate to their children.
Sister Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT, is a sister of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and serves at Domus Trinitatis, Willey.