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3 Steps to Thriving Beyond a Dad Gap | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

3 Steps to Thriving Beyond a Dad Gap

Greeting card companies miss a niche market with Father’s Day cards.  They could have a bad dad section.  Some dads don’t deserve “world’s greatest dad” cards.  A card saying “Happy Father’s Day” and nothing else could help.  Maybe people won’t buy “world’s worst dad cards,” even if they are deserved.

Sometimes, the nicest thing that could be said is “thanks for leaving.”

My dad gap has early roots; he never saw me stumble and fall, perform, compete, graduate, or get married. I have no happy childhood memories of him.

Statistics suggest someone with my background will most likely repeat those cycles.

People with dad gaps can survive and thrive. The following help me:

1. Find Surrogates: Girls who grow up without dads are more insecure.  God sent me a wonderful husband and a handful of trusted surrogates who encourage me, validate me, and are there when needed.

2. Break Cycles: There is no “Healthy Family as a Second Language” class.  My kids are blessed with a good dad.  I watch him encourage, talk, and be there for them and marvel.  They are blessed to have a dad who not only cares but loves his family with his whole heart.  As I watch him parent our children, I experience for the first time that sometimes guys are good and dads are a great thing to have. We are not doomed to pass on the chains that bind us. We can break those chains. Good workshops, Bible studies, and a few good counselors helped me.

3.  Pay it Forward: When I was younger, surrogates stepped forward to try to fill my Dad Gap.  They couldn’t completely fill it, but their efforts laid the groundwork for me to find a good husband with whom I could build a healthy relationship. Now it’s my turn to pay that forward – to encourage young, struggling adults.

We always have hope.  Tomorrow can be a better day.  I thank God for helping me find beauty beyond the ashes of a rotten childhood.

Though I’ll never buy a Father’s Day card for my dad, I can help my children honor their dad and show him just how much he is appreciated.  And I can doubly savor how precious his gift of fatherhood to our children is.

Richard and my kids taught me that a good dad may be hard to find, but he’s worth the effort.


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