I don’t have many memories as a young child, but my earliest ones all have one thing in common—they involve my father. The warmth of acceptance, the growth during “teachable moments,” and the consistent feeling of safety were all regular emotions that I relate to childhood memories of my dad. Now,father-daughter at 23 years old, I recognize that many of my current life decisions and self-perceptions are a result of my father’s intentionality and involvement in my life.

While I attribute much of my successful childhood to the nurture of my mother, it would be false and unfair to ignore the irreplaceable impact that my father has had on my life, particularly on how I perceive my own value as a young woman.

Before coming to MFI, I served on student leadership at college and came in contact with a variety of people from very different backgrounds. Through the many unique interactions I had, I was awakened to the blessing that was the presence of both a mother and father. Many of the young ladies who I lived with throughout my four years came from households with a single parent, usually a single mother—and many of those same young ladies dealt with constant feelings of abandonment and inadequacy. Even at a Christian college, I encountered many young women who tried to fill the emotional trauma of their missing parent with distractions of alcohol, drugs, sexual validation and other patterns of unhealthy relationship behaviors.

In our recently updated study on the effects of fatherlessness in Massachusetts, we see that one out of every three children will not be celebrating with dad this Father’s Day, and the social and economical results are a testimony to that. Higher rates of income inequality, teen pregnancy and violence for those from single-parent households in Massachusetts are just a few of the consequences of fatherlessness. (You can download the full updated report at our website).

As the statistics have worsened throughout the years, millennials like myself are first-hand witnesses to the fact that fathers matter. Whether those like myself who have a present, loving father or those like my friends who painfully longed for that figure in their lives, it is evident that fathers (or the lack thereof) make a difference. This Father’s Day and every day, I thank God for a loving dad who has invested in me throughout my life, and I pray that those who come after me will be able to experience a family as God intended—with a mother and a father.

Lena Wakim
Director of Communications

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