Yesterday was Father’s day in South Africa, interestingly it was also Youth Day. I found it quite profound that on a day where we are intending to honour fathers for the sacrifices they have made, we would also be celebrating how young people stood up to oppression and ended up making the ultimate sacrifice.
I wonder, how often young people today end up making sacrifices that should be borne by father’s. How often do son’s and daughters pay a price as a result of their fathers abdicating responsibilities and duties that were intended for them, how often do the past sins of the fathers come back to haunt the future possibilities of the young?
I spend much of my time with sons who share stories of how they have been wounded by the guardians entrusted with the responsibility to ensure their safety. On a weekly basis I hear stories that simply make me shake my head and make me want to raise my fists in rage. Stories of abuse, rejection, indifference, heartlessness and abandonment. These boys and young men are supposed to be the arrows in their fathers’ armoury, instead they are the targets of all sorts of abuse. The sad fact is, most of the pain is being caused with no real intention. Most of these dads don’t begin the day plotting the downfall of there sons, they don’t plan the next jab or crushing comment. These fathers are simply going about their day and allowing themselves to be used to convey messages to their sons, messages that break down, devalue, remove hope and cause pain, and they often don’t even realise what damage they have made.
One of the most powerful tools in a fathers arsenal are his words. Ironically, as powerful as words are in causing damage, they are equally as powerful in promoting healing. The single greatest power a father has, lies in his ability to curse and to bless.
I have just completed a brilliant book by Craig Hill called Ancient paths. A must read for dads or anyone holding this type of role. It speaks of the ancient paths mentioned in Jeremiah 6. It talks about these paths being the protective walls that were put in place to ensure the safety of a people group. These paths tie up the questions who am I, and why am I here? Calling and destiny. As Fathers we have the opportunity to speak into these two areas either by way of blessing or cursing, either we establish God’s intentions in the life of our sons and daughters with regards to their calling and identity or we establish satans’ intentions. Depending on whose you pick, the results are either shame or glory, no difficulty guessing which belongs to who.
This process of blessing or cursing seems to be playing out daily in all families, and many fathers don’t understand the great power they are wielding with being able to choose between the two, more than this, many don’t seem to understand that a word or comment in passing can crush the people they hold most dear. I would like to take some time in the next while speaking about blessing and cursing of our sons and daughters. To cover the topic here and give it justice wouldn’t lend itself to a blog post but rather a few chapters of a novel.
As an intro, what I will say is that we as Fathers have the power to bless our children or curse them. When blessing, we establish Gods intention with regards to purpose and identity and when cursing we establish Satan’s. We are so monumentally unfocused on our role as fathers that we miss opportunities to establish a God picture of who our kids are and why they are here and instead, firmly imprison our most loved in the darkness and mediocrity that is Satan’s idea of who they are why they are here.
Fathers need to understand the details from the big picture and remember that the details, the little moments, often end up defining the bigger picture. We need to understand that we are not shooting for perfection and never saying anything wrong, but we are aiming for a understanding that our words are powerful beyond measure and therefore we need to be purposeful in our interaction with our children, constantly and intentionally seeking to bless them at every opportunity we get and mitigate the curses others will unwittingly speak over them.