The role that involved fathers play is vital. The opposite is also true: uninvolved fathers can cause significant wounds. But even these wounds can be redeemed to help others.
“An engaged and loving father is the most powerful man-making force on the planet,” writes Earl Hipp in his perceptive article titled Healing the Absent Father Wound. He goes on:
The opposite is also true. When fathers are absent, physically or emotionally, the wound that results is profound. It touches a man to his core and forever leaves him with the question, “Am I good enough as a person and a man?”
All men long to hear the biblical pronouncement from a father, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” The truth is that too many men and young males did not and do not hear it, and we are all paying the price as a result.
My wife and I started Dads4Kids after being inspired by Indigenous elder Ps Ronnie Williams. We understood the principle expressed by Earl Hipp. Now more than ever, I feel that I am a living, breathing witness to the truth and the power of Earl’s words.
The Pain of an Uninvolved Father
Last week I received this plea for help via email from Richard (not his real name), and it cut me to the quick. It brought Earl Hipp’s wisdom to mind.
I am a 35-year-old man who does not have children. I have never planned to do so. I don’t think I ever will.
I have grown up with an uninvolved father. This has had an enormously negative impact on my life. It has made me struggle with male-to-male bonding in general and cost me the ability to love people like my brothers and even sisters. I have also wished I could call someone my father or have that figure. Even a mother figure as well.
It has impacted my self-esteem and affected my mental health. I have been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder. This is due to circumstances that have generally been out of my control in my life.
I am writing to you because I wondered how you may help fatherless children, not just fathers without children. Perhaps you may be able to help me meet other adults, male and female, who have had an uninvolved father throughout their lifetimes.
Hopefully, you can direct me to these types of groups where fatherless children can share their stories, support each other, and perhaps make new friends.
Fatherless children need the opportunity to share the common bond of togetherness. They need to express the pain that comes to them because of the gutlessness of uninvolved fathers.
I found out that Richard’s father walked out of his life when he was two years of age. He had little contact with him through the years, and now his father is entirely out of the picture. I tried my best to encourage Richard and honour his courageous decision to reach out for help.
Following this, I asked Richard if he had seen Jordan Peterson. He said yes, but only a little. I encouraged him to check him out a bit more as Peterson has become a bit of a folk-hero for young men growing up in an anti-male world.
Jordan Peterson on the Role of Fathers
Richard told me he wanted to play the flute, so I did my best to cheer him on in his musical quest. I asked him what music he liked, and he said all sorts but particularly heavy metal. I asked him what his favourite bands were. He listed some well-known groups like Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and Korn.
At last, our conversation landed on a point of commonality. My boys really liked Korn. Fortuitously, I had also met the guitarist from Korn, Brian Welch, when he visited Sydney. (I wrote about this experience and about Welch’s biographical movie Loud Krazy Love here).
As I talked with Richard, I realised that because of his fatherlessness, his big need was finding a good male mentor. Yes, hanging out with other fatherless children might be encouraging, but that was not his primary need.
After all, the best place to find a large contingent of fatherless men would be in prison – but that is not the best place to go to get healed from your father wound!
Redeeming the Pain of Fatherlessness
All this came up in our conversation and much more. Following this, I replied to Richard by email:
It was a real joy to talk to you today. You are a very brave young man to be so honest and open about the challenges you face. I encourage you to keep on with your noble quest to reach out to fatherless people for the purpose of encouragement. Just don’t go to jail to do so. LOL.
With your kind permission, I will share your story in my newsletter to inspire other fathers to be good fathers. Richard, you have a powerful story to tell.
You will know that by sharing your story of the pain of fatherlessness, some good will be done in the world to inspire other dads to be there for their children. This should encourage you.
Happy to reach out to try to find some mentors for you if you so wish. Here are some links to encourage you, which I believe you will find interesting.
Call me anytime to discuss a possible mentoring opportunity.
Learn more about the vital role that fathers play by checking out the video links above. Fathers, be encouraged: you are vital to your children’s future.
Also, take a look at Rod Lampard’s incredible story about a new American schoolyard initiative called Dads On Duty. It provides another affirmation of just how important dads are for their children and the broader community.
Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker.
Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
Dads4Kids – Building Men. Growing Fathers. Changing Generations.