The story below is excerpted from Nov 30th blog by Mitch Freeman, fatherhood specialist at CareNet of Dane County.

Malik’s dad lives only about 20 minutes away, but it may as well be 20 hours.

His dad was never present his life and their relationship is defined by vivid images of broken promises. Like the time in elementary school when Malik’s dad promised to bring cupcakes to celebrate his birthday but never showed, leaving him to face his friend’s questions, “Where’s your dad?”

Or the times his dad never showed to pick him up from football or basketball practice. Malik was left sitting on the curb, waiting expectantly for a man who would never show.

Unfortunately, Malik’s story isn’t unique. In fact, it’s very common. According to the most recent U.S. Census, more than 1 in 4 children live without a father in the home. That’s one out of every four children in our neighborhoods, communities, and schools.

For young men like Malik there are lasting consequences to growing up in a father-absent home. For example, because his dad was never around, Malik became:

- Four times more likely to live in poverty

- More likely to have behavioral problems in and out of school

- Twice as likely to drop out of high school

- More likely to be incarcerated

Whenever I meet with dads, the very first question I ask is, “What was your relationship like with your father?”

What a powerful moment for all of us! What has our relationship or our picture of dad been? This will surely affect how we pray to God-”Our Father who art in Heaven”… or what we confess about “God the Father almighty…”

How we relate to God is something worth reflecting on this January as we celebrate life month.

Luther’s catechism teaches us that God reveals himself as our father in at least two ways. As creator He is the father of all creation (Ps. 139: 12-16), and we have all been adopted as children through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:26). God shows himself to be a trustworthy father who keeps His promises, and we can run to him anytime.

How is your relationship with God similar to your relationship with your father?

How is it different?

Read Galatians 4:4-6-what stands out to you about this passage?

Read Romans 8:15-16-what joy/confidence does this passage give you?

How can you show love to your earthly father this week (or someone else who was a stand in father for things).

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