I think I was around 10 years old when this photo was taken. My dad had just been released from prison after serving 8 or 9 years. The night before, I talked to him on the phone and he told me he was going to take me fishing when he got home that next day. I remember being so excited because this would be my first time to actually spend the day with my dad. So right after we hung up the phone, I went and got my tackle box and my fishing poll and sat it next to the front door. The next day came and man what a day it was - I even caught my first fish! But just shortly after this, my dad got into some trouble and was sent back to prison. I remember being very disappointed. All I ever wanted was my dad - to be there, to teach me things, to love me. But he wasn’t there, and I didn’t know why. I started questioning if his absence was my fault? Maybe he didn’t love me? My confusion turned to anger and I carried that with me for a very long time. I had low self-esteem ... I lacked confidence ... I didn’t love myself. I started looking for affirmation any way I could get it.
But in the last few years I’ve really tried to work on myself and I’ve had a lot of growth. I can see now that it was my dads absence & neglect that fueled my misguided quest for affirmation. I read this the other day - “...But boys instinctively look to their makers - their Fathers - for answers. And when there are none to be found, they fill the void with what’s available...” So knowing that my dad didn’t have HIS father either, helped me to better understand his situation and made it easier for me to forgive him for not being there. -
I’m sharing this because I know there are a lot of young men out there who don’t have their fathers. And then there are people who “expect these young boys to eventually act like men, but there’s rarely a man in their lives patiently teaching them how to be one.” If you know a young boy without his father, reach out and do what you can to help him become a man. Without that help and without any answers, “they will fill the void with what’s available.” Please do what you can!