The Father’s Blessing

It’s become tradition for me to repost this on Father’s Day, it seems. I feel even more strongly than ever the importance of a father’s blessing, but I also have a wider scope, now, of what that means. Although my father was a very critical person, although he found it hard to express positive things to me, and the unfortunate interference of a late life focus on someone who took advantage of him and helped alienate him from family, still…. for much of my life, my father was probably my greatest advocate and, in his own way, was there for me with a blessing.

Happy Father’s Day! It is a wonderful privilege to be a father, and a weighty responsibility. We all know the many pictures of the role of fatherhood, but if we peer into them with a little more investigation the idea of blessing starts to form.

Read the blessing from Genesis

49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel. 3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power. 4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it. 5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords are weapons of violence. 6 Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. 7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel. 8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk. 13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon. 14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down among the sheep pens. 15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor. 16 “Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward. 18 “I look for your deliverance, Lord. 19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels. 20 “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king. 21 “Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns. 22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. 23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. 24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. 26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. 27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.” 28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

Jacob blessed his sons. Isn’t it interesting that there was a blessing appropriate to each individual child? There is a destiny for each of us, and how great an advantage to have a father’s blessing.

I gave this idea much thought when going through the working out that was necessary in my relationship to my father. Of his children I had the closest relationship with him as his oldest and as the one who kept as removed from the divorce hostility as was possible. Yet, through the years I came to realize what a damaging effect his absence and family brokenness had upon me as a daughter, wife, woman, and person. It was one of many barriers to receiving the blessing of my father, because I think one avenue of a father’s blessing is the time he spends with his child. A Father’s blessing is the encouragement, the insight he offers, and the care he holds for his children. As with Jacob it is not a cookie cutter method of parenting, but part of the dynamic effect that a father has on each one of his children, and leader’s insight into what is appropriate for the personality and future of that individual.

We don’t have much comprehension of the importance of a father’s approval and blessing in our culture; tending instead to diminish the role of the father and his influence. I think this has partly to do with the desire to rationalize divorce.

The idea is that it is OK for the father to go missing- he isn’t of much import anyway- just a nuisance and outdated appendage in our “evolutionary”, modern way of life. That is the way we are given to think about fatherhood in our society.

Except that the need for one’s father never was bred out of the child.

Children who receive their father’s blessing are children with a great advantage in life, a greater sense of their place in life, and of their potential. It isn’t that humans can’t compensate, many of us do compensate, but it is a fact that we must compensate for something important that is missing.

Fathers are men who have many facets to their lives, as they endeavor to succeed in their dreams, ambitions, and working out their own potentials, but the wonderful opportunity for a father is to pass that on to further generations. To let the lessons, the blessing, and the wisdom gained in their own lives to be given, with forethought and deliberation, to their children.

So, this is what I wish for every father today, whether a brand new one in the midst of raising the family, the one already having grown children, or as residing emeritus grandfather:

Give your blessing to your children, find their good qualities and their potentials and verbalize that to them. support their dreams as you would have wanted your dreams and visions supported and encouraged. Direct them. Inspire them with your own aspirations. Create a legacy of blessing in your family… believe in the importance of your own impact and influence- just because you are their father. No divorce negates that, no failure need obscure your ability to pass on a blessing to your children.

Bless them as only you can.

related posts:
Where’s the Blessing?
Father’s Day Report

When first blogging I wrote this – it was on one of my former blogs:

A Father’s Blessing

Luke 11:
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.

Do father’s know the power of their blessing? Do they understand the cry of a childs heart to know not only their father’s approval and good intentions , but the determined good of expressed blessing?

How many are hobbled in life due to the absence of their father, of never knowing whether their fathers truly accepted them? Or how many by the fact that that love and acceptance was hidden in a fog of personal problems or negative verbal habits of criticism?

A fathers blessing is a powerful thing in a persons life, and it is more than just motivation. It is like a stamp of approval, a certificate of worth.

If we miss it, there are other things with which we compensate, and there is even a special promise for those who find that their mothers and fathers ‘forsake” them, but that isn’t the way we are set up, and it isn’t the way in which we may best operate.

Fathers hold a special place for their children, and they have the opportunity to impact the future through their childrens lives in a wonderful way. By way of their blessing.

It is not only worldly good, and it isn’t only positive words, it is what that father may most be gifted in his ability to give. His encouragement, or his example, his care, there could be many vehicles. But whatever the vehicle, it is the heart and the desire to see that child reach all the potential in life.

Looking at the blessing that Israel left his twelve sons, not only that which was passed to him by his forebears, but an individualized blessing for each son, each in his own destiny…. to have a success and a desired end.

There is need for the fathers blessing today. It makes a better world for the children.


Tarzan Christianity

Yes, life has been beating me up. Yes, I have been on the threshold of giving up on a number of fronts. Yes, I have been deeply betrayed by the remnants, the sorry remnants, of my non-family family. Or is that the other way around? Family non-family? Dysfunctional and “irregular” however you name it.

But here I am, ready to ride into the tourney to do battle with dragons. Because there are always dragons, and Christianity as it is practiced within our society is full of them. In a strange way it segues in perfectly with all that I have struggled with this year, both in discussing theology in the blog and wrestling with personal snares from many who declare their Christian righteousness loudly and proudly. Enter the arena:
Continue reading Tarzan Christianity

Family Matters

There are things roiling beneath my surface, and they will coalesce into later posts, for now -if you are in the temper for thinking about demanding revelations and exposures- then here is some reading matter for you.

First on the list, Greg has two entries on the role of Father. He begins with an introduction, and then moves further into his own experience and observations. while he feels “that a father’s absence seems to have the most damaging impact upon male children.” I would say that the impact for women is more like U-boat while for men it is more like a destroyer. Both carry heavy payloads, but one is more visible than the other. He also pinpoints a salient point in all this: that men in our culture often feel helpless in the face of family responsibility. “What’s important in all this, though is that the shame my father felt was not directed at me, as I perceived it was, but rather at himself for being unable to stop what happened to me.” This is not easy reading, friends.

The second article which I found via Parableman, is Off the Top’s “Stay-at-home motherhood: domestic bliss?” I’ve touched on some of her points in my own posts on the Mommy Wars, but this is one more layer.
she makes some points such as:

  • “there’s such a societal standard for appearances, it’s awfully embarrassing to be seen looking like a rag heap and needing a shower!”
  • “I [did not have time for] even basic things like being able to take a shower, trim my nails, use the bathroom without a baby hanging on me in a sling, have the house even marginally kept, have a conversation without constant distraction or interruption”
  • “Society needs to get down and dirty with the realities of motherhood, and help these heroes of our civilization out!”
  • “children need to learn not to expect Mommy to be directly attending to them constantly….that they are the center of the universe”

There is lots more there…. I think it expresses the common cry for help that women are either too ashamed to express or that they submerge in escaping altogether through saying yes to a ‘you are only worth your work” type of world.

All these things are thrown together in my mind with some of the thoughts from the “abortion” discussion. I have to tell you that it rankled me to have some male author say my thoughts ( generally addressed) were “irrelevant” because I don’t shoulder the burden of society more thoroughly. When we discuss abortion and reproduction every woman has relevant thoughts. Our voice is important. I intend to speak a little more on these things, and I don’t really care if it has little impact because I can’t manage to be a popular blog. Every voice counts, and the more consideration we give to our say, the more it adds to the dialogue. That is what I think, anyway.

Parableman spoke of a type of coercion. I think that is what woman are often subjected to in our society-maybe most societies- especially when they begin to awake from the lies prevalent in their culture. Whatever those lies are.

And hint -hint: don’t ever tell a woman like me that what we have to say is irrelevant when it impacts our lives and our families…because you have just aroused one bulldog of a reaction. Maybe it’s like that saying about “hell hath no fury….”

Maybe because there is more than one sort of fire.

Society’s message about women and their worth, its policies that impact that, the lies that damage and erode our potentials and the scope of our roles…. These all have importance of the gravest weight in our thinking, these things demand our consideration even if they are unpleasant, and contentious and difficult to untangle.

Which Came First: the mother or the father?

I was looking over a blog opining on psychology, and was trying to figure out if I operate primarily in an “Object Relations” sort of way. Although it said that the primary ‘other’ would be your mother.

That started me thinking about how I am convinced that mothers are vitally important , but that fathers are the sleeper in the equation. I realize this post is fraught with potential puns and possible innuendo, but you’ll have to deal with it. Anyway, I got to thinking about my own , admittedly weird and topsy turvy personality self, feeling that my father had far more to do with how I turned out. As a mother, that is. It seems that fathers have an awful lot to do with how girls shape their identities of themselves as women. Some of that is dependent merely upon whether the father is absent or present, but all the points in between are possible variables in the equation.

That is not to diminish the importance of mothers, but it does make it look a little more balanced. Like possibly both sexes count in the raising of children.

Now that I’ve said that, it looks like I had an agenda with this, doesn’t it? I didn’t, but it could go that way.

but do we shape our sexual identity primarily upon mirroring, as in following the footsteps of the parent whose role you will take? Or is it more a reactive sort of thing, reacting off the opposite parent and seeing yourself from that perspective?

Likely, as in all these things, it is both. It is always both, it seems, but is it far more, than we have suspected, in the role of the father?

I have often noticed the correlation between good relationships with men/good relationship with father, and vice versa. How far does that reach? Then the way a father treats a mother has effects on the children, too; it has effects on how effective a mother that woman will be oftentimes. We just chalk that up to getting the support we need -but maybe it is more. What if it colors the whole of the family?

I think this would change the emphasis of family information in our culture. It would affect the view men have of themselves, I would imagine, but I don’t know in what way. Just an intuition sort of thing.

A fragment to pick up another time….