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Saturday, June 15, 2013

"The Father You've Always Wanted" (Ed Tandy McGlasson)

TITLE: The Father You've Always Wanted : How God Heals Your Father Wounds
AUTHOR: Ed Tandy McGlasson
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013, (192 pages).

We all need a little more love, especially from fathers to their children. Intended to be both "miraculous and practical," Ed Tandy McGlasson, a former-NFL linesman turned conference speaker and author, has contributed yet another resource on fatherhood and the importance of fathers in society. Believing with passion that Malachi 4:6 will soon be a reality, he makes a passionate plea for children to maintain hope and for fathers to be available answers to the crying need in our tough society. It is interesting that McGlasson begins the book with a story of an orphanage and how they have been cared for by a spiritual father. While in a real way, there are many who may not be orphans literally, they may instead experience an absentee father. Statistics reveal that more than half of the children in America will sleep without their fathers at home, which is a shocking phenomenon, considering how strongly society places upon the importance of family. Weaved throughout the book is a subtle reminder that we too are spiritual orphans in need of our Heavenly Father.

McGlasson begins gently reminding us that fathers do make a huge difference in the lives of growing children. From encouragement from being present at the child's sports game, to the painful revelations of many fathers who themselves did not have a good father-child relationship, on and on, McGlasson gives us a glimmer of hope that gets brighter as the chapters flow on. For fathers are able to give their children love, without ever the children asking for it. They should for that is what fathers are called to do. The book shows us the different ways fathers can love their children.

First, there is the role of blessings. A growing child needs the word of the father to help them grow well. It transfers a legacy of blessings and goodwill that the child can carry with him. For those who have never been blessed in any way, there is good news. It is never too late. Like the example of the 90-year old elder who finally verbalized his love for his 68-year old daughter, or the healing of a broken past with words that mend. Second, there is the significance of the names we have been given. The Bible has stories of how dads have "blown it." Yet, through the naming, the child grows up blessed when he lives in the might of his name. In a broken world, many people's relationships with their fathers are also broken. Without the father's blessings, people easily put themselves down as failures, as outcasts, as despised, unwanted, and useless. They become vulnerable to "performance based approval" that often does little to the self-esteem and true worth of oneself. That is why many who does not have a good father-child relationship go through lives of quiet desperation. Gradually, McGlasson introduces the "father that you always wanted" beginning with the Father that Jesus knew. Third, fathers show their love through words of affirmation. "You are my Beloved Son, whom I love" represents one of the most beautiful words of affirmation from Father God to Jesus. The sharing then becomes painfully personal as the author shares about how he lost his own dad in a plane crash., and how his own stepdad treats him the same way that his stepdad's dad had treated him. The point is, fathers wield a significant influence in their children's lives, whether knowingly or unknowingly. That is why wounds from a father take a long time to heal, if they ever heal. Fourth, the promise of God shows us that we have an eternal Father who loves us and cares for us. Even if some of us live as orphans in this world, we have this promise that with God as our heavenly Father, we are no longer orphans, in many sense. There is no need to try to make a name for ourselves just to prove we are worthy. There is no need to feel a pressure to achieve in order to be taken seriously. Sharing a personal humourous example of his encounter with a buffalo, there is also no need to show or prove that one needs to be boss.

Thankfully, the problems mentioned are not an end in themselves. The promises bear out a big and bright future.  It is God the Father who takes the initiative to call us back to Him. It is God the Father who becomes our reference person of who a perfect father can be. It is basically becoming aware that having God the Father, helps us not only to appreciate our status as children of God, it makes us want to be more like him, to be better fathers ourselves. The greatest gift is for parents to be close with their kids so much that no matter how things get rough or tough in this life, kids know their fathers and mothers will be there for them. McGlasson also shares some tips for single moms, broken families, and to take comfort in the Word of God that chimes in God's love to us, page after page.

My Thoughts

This is a beautiful book to read as Father's Day approaches. McGlasson has woven together a book that is sensitive to the plight of children who live like orphans in this world. He has a broad understanding of the many different challenges in families, with absentee fathers, with people who have a broken childhood and many more. Gently, he guides readers toward seeking God, our Perfect Heavenly Father, who is there for us, even when we feel our earthly fathers have disappointed us. The multiperspectival use of the "father" image is especially helpful. Not only is the book for those to reminisce or to reflect upon their earthly fathers, it encourages us to seek out and receive the love of our Heavenly Father.  In the process, slowly but surely, we grow in the understanding of the importance of fathers in the family and society. We grow in appreciation of God the Father. We grow in understanding the role of fathers. Like a football coach pounding out exhortations "You can do it!" McGlasson sounds out the clarion call for all to become the fathers they are called to be. Someone has said that it is easier to become a father (biologically) than to be a father (responsibly).

This book is a great way to encourage us to go forth not only to become the fathers we are called to be, but also to honour our fathers that God has called to be our dads. Great book!

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Baker Books and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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