Family breakdown has resulted in fathers who are physically or emotionally absent. In ‘The Affirmation Crisis’ Randy Hix details the serious impact this fatherlessness epidemic is having on our society and individuals. Randy expounds the original plan for the family and how to receive the needed affirmation needed to mend the wounded heart.
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About the Author
Randy Hix has spent over 35 years as a missionary, Bible schoolteacher, and apostolic leader, and has ministered to people and churches all over the Unites States and Eastern Europe. In 1999, Randy and wife Renee lived in Ukraine for two years, where they fathered a new church and Bible School in Odessa and ministered throughout Ukraine and other eastern Europe countries. Randy and Renee founded Legacy Leadership International in Reno, Nevada and have lived there for the past 17 years.
Read an Excerpt
My Personal Awakening
There is an Affirmation Crisis. It is the result of fatherlessness. Generations have grown up without a father. Whether physically or emotionally absent, it leaves in the child a wound of absence.
The "father wound" has created broken humans and people who carry an Orphan spirit. Lost-ness, identity confusion, broken relationships, and emotional dysfunction have been some of the results.
But that is not God's plan. His desire is that you and I be healed and restored in our hearts, to know that we are capable, loved, and confident in who we are.
"We live in a time where most men (and boys) are essentially fatherless. Whatever their circumstance, they have no man actually taking them through the many adventures, trials, battles, and experiences they need to shape a masculine heart within them. They find themselves on their own to figure life out, and that is a lonely place to be. Their fears, anger, boredom, and their many addictions all come out of this fatherless place within them — a fundamental uncertainty in the core of their being."
— John Eldredge, The Way of the Wild Heart: A Map for the Masculine Journey
Present but Absent
As a young man of twenty-six, I answered the call of God on my life and entered the ministry. I had spent the previous seven years of marriage pursuing a carrier in music while doing various jobs, including as an interstate truck driver, to make ends meet. My wife Renee and I were just kids when we began our lives together. We were "kids having kids." I was eighteen and Renee was seventeen when our first son was born.
To say that I was a novice at fatherhood is a gross understatement. I only knew what I had learned from my father. He, being an interstate truck driver himself, was gone most of the time. My memories of childhood are mixed with times when he was there with times when he wasn't.
It seemed natural to relegate the raising of my children to my wife. That was the role my mother was forced to fill in my father's absence. It never occurred to me to be emotionally involved with my two sons. I loved them, enjoyed them, but left the actual raising of them to Renee, who did an amazing job despite my preoccupation with my desires and plans.
After rededicating my life to Christ, I was seemingly plunged into ministry as a youth pastor and adult Sunday school teacher. Looking back, it seems like it happened overnight. Years passed quickly as I transitioned from youth pastor to associate pastor to senior pastor in a matter of six years.
1987 found Renee and me and our two boys living in Reno, Nevada, as I served as senior pastor. Scott and Brian, my sons, were also plunged into the pressures of being preachers' kids (PKs). While not oblivious to their situation, I did little to change the dynamic of the family in light of the new challenges. I was busy building the church, meeting with leaders, and launching programs both in the church and the community.
Decisions that I made as a pastor and community leader always affected the family, as they were involved in the interaction with the people and leadership families in the church. Some of their best friends were those in the church body.
There were, however, outside influences affecting my children of which I was unaware. Unscrupulous pedophiles were targeting my oldest child as a teenager. He was also enticed to use drugs as a middle schooler. I did not know the extent of his wound.
As he entered his twenties, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol as he tried to self-medicate his wound and the emotional trauma of some of these assaults. After many failed relationships, he continued to struggle with substance abuse through his twenties and into his thirties.
He was in his thirties when I realized I had been somewhat absent in the raising of my own two boys. After doing some research on the biblical and secular studies on the subject, I could see that the missing element was the affirmation of my children. Like my father, I had developed the habit of emotional detachment. I did not know then the extent of the "father's wound" my sons carried.
I began to teach from the pulpit on the problem of "fatherlessness."
At a small men's meeting at the church, I began ministering to our men concerning this epidemic of the "father wound." I was shocked and encouraged by what we experienced.
In a room of men, including my own grown sons, I began to explain the need for the father's blessing and the wound that needed to be healed in most men. These men began to break down and weep as the realization of the hurt they had carried became known and recognized.
Beginning with my two sons, I hugged them and affirmed them as men and blessed them with my love and declaration of their greatness, competence, and ability. They both wept in my arms as I pronounced my blessing on them. My oldest son admitted, "I just assumed I was never going to get that, Dad."
And then one by one I was able to stand in the gap for the missing and absent fathers of the men present in that meeting. Each one coming to a place of inner healing as they forgave their fathers and received affirmation from the Holy Spirit and from me, the representative "father."
One of the men had been raised in an orphanage, another by his prostitute mother. Some had been raised by a brutal and abusive father. One had been abandoned by his father and had struggled with his sexuality for all his adult life. One by one they received the father's blessing and felt the strong and powerful arms of their heavenly Father lift them and encourage them.
One older gentleman who had been involved in men's ministries for over twenty years said, weeping, "This is the best men's meeting I have ever been in." After ministering this truth on a Sunday morning, an elderly gentleman came up to me and said, "I have gone to church most of my life, but this is the first time I have 'been to church.' Your message has changed my life."
Both my sons are now in healthy, loving marriages and have beautiful and healthy children. I am now a great-grandfather to two beautiful babies. My son's lives are prospering as we have developed a verbal and experiential, loving relationship. Although I was late in imparting to them, I believe they are now able to pass on the blessing to their children and affirm them into their destinies.
In 1992, American country music artist Reba McEntire released the song "The Greatest Man I Never Knew." The song was written by Richard Leigh and Layng Martine, Jr. Richard Leigh has described the song as being about his own father.
The song expresses the disappointment of an emotionally absent father who lived in the same house but who barely spoke with his son. Because of the father's silence and disconnection, the son had no idea that the father thought he "hung the moon."
The son mourns the fact that he never really knew his father, although he lived with him all his growing years and was around him all his life. The final stanza of the song is a eulogy to the deceased father who was good at business but left the important business of assuring the son of his love and support undone. He never told his son he loved him, and the son is left to assume the father believed the son knew.
The song perfectly describes the feelings of a child who has a present but absent father. In some ways, having a present father who is emotionally absent can be more damaging to the child than being physically absent. The conflict of emotions and detachment leaves children to wonder and often believe that they are the reason for the dysfunction. This often results in self-abasement and low self-esteem issues.
While writing this book, I spoke with a single mother raising a beautiful teenage daughter. It was a brief encounter but emphasized the need for what I am trying to share.
I told her the premise of the book I am writing. She shared, "There are things I cannot give my daughter." She explained that as a teenager, her daughter was having absent-father issues. We agreed that a father's influence is crucial to a young daughter. The single mom was brought to tears as I told her the illustration of a mother who has made all the preparations for the big night in her daughter's life: a prom or a big night out. She buys the dress, fixes her daughters hair and make-up. She looks at her in a full-length mirror and expresses how beautiful she looks. And then the daughter says, "But what does Dad think?"
This daughter does not have that father's input. She is experiencing the pain of an absent father. Needless to say, my project was immediately validated.
We can look at numerous stories of fathers who were great bread winners and providers who were present in the home but absent emotionally. Career distractions, business stresses, and cultural training have caused some fathers to withdraw and see themselves as necessary for the financial success of the family, but not its emotional stability.
The Culture of Fatherlessness
Fatherlessness has become a major social problem in America, even an epidemic, with approximately 50% of children under the age of eighteen not living in the same home as their respective biological fathers. It has been documented in many ways and, yet, it is a secret hidden in plain view.
The interesting thing is the lack of contemporary studies on the impact and effect of absentee fathers. If you google "Studies on Absent Fathers," you will find many different studies and facts. The curious thing is that the most recent study you will find is in the year 2010.
"Research on fatherhood and the downstream effects of engaged, thoughtful dad-ing is scant, relative to the extensive literature on motherhood. Strange as it may sound, fatherhood is an emerging field of study."
Many recent books on the subject are relegated to referencing studies that are over ten years old and, in some cases, twenty years. This book is no different; however, I would like to bring a contemporary take on the subject and inject an emotional/spiritual remedy.
Today, after over a hundred years of cultural fatherlessness, we have seen multiple generations who have grown up without the father's emotional and often physical influence and support. Combine that with two world wars, economic challenges, media influence, rising divorce rates, sexual identity conflict, and you are left with a generation of wandering fatherless children. Many of these fatherless children are wounded adults who continue to live their lives not knowing that they are suffering from the wound of absence referred to as the "father wound."
The "father wound," in short, is the absence of the emotional blessing that only the father can provide to the child. One of the major responsibilities of the father is the modeling and impartation of true fatherhood. A father is the God-given instrument that identifies the child as well as gives the child a sense of self and self-confidence.
This is true for both men and women. Every young man is waiting for his father to tell him he has what it takes. Every young woman is waiting for a father to show her that she is beautiful and worthy to be pursued and protected. Every young man looks to his father for affirmation and identity. Every young girl is looking to the father for her identity and affirmation as a woman.
This does not discount the importance of the mother, however. There are things the mother cannot give because of her physiological/emotional design. There are numerous accounts of single moms raising incredible adults. I believe these are the exceptions and not the rule. Moms do an amazing job in many cases, but they lack certain abilities that can only be fulfilled by a father.
The father identifies the child. The father calls forth the masculine in the son and the femininity of the daughter. Without this essential input from Dad, the boy struggles to see himself as a man and the girl struggles to identify as a woman. Their spirits cry out for a father to save them.
Our fathers have a special role to play in our discovery of who we are in life. This is why a father telling his child a statement like "You'll never amount to anything" has such a devastating effect. On the other hand, a father who lovingly affirms his child is giving him a solid foundation toward developing into a healthy, well-adjusted adult.
In 1990, poet Robert Bly stated a jarring truth. "The average man today," he declared, "has learned well from his mother to embrace his 'soft feminine side' and become tender and receptive. But he hasn't learned to embrace his more deliberate 'masculine side,' because his father has been emotionally and often physically absent." Without a father to secure him in his masculine identity, Bly declared, "the man abdicates his destiny and looks to the woman, as Mom, to define his nature and purpose. Ultimately, therefore, he embraces a false femininity and becomes passive."
If current trends continue, more and more people will grow up without a father's blessing. Not only that, many will grow up with no relationship to a father at all. Some will not even have a biological father, as science paves the way to make fatherhood obsolete. The result will be a level of lost-ness in the hearts of people that has never been seen in history
"The lack of effective, functioning fathers is the root cause of America's social, economic and spiritual crises."
— Dr. Edwin Cole, author, founder Christian Men's MovementCHAPTER 2
The Family Under Siege
It does not take a learned scholar to see that over the last fifty years the family has been under attack. Concepts and opinions concerning the family have changed and a new perception of family has emerged. Much of the destruction of the family has been popularized and normalized through media — the arts and entertainment.
The large percentage of marriages that end in divorce and the increasing trend of out-of-wedlock births seems to have contributed to a widespread belief that being a single parent is somehow a noble venture, and that the father is unimportant to raising children. There are indeed many exceptional single parents. But these are the exceptions to the rule, as statistics prove.
It is as if there were a systematic scheme in the works to destroy our society by using progressive cultural engineering. The influence of popular approaches to the family, in the media that rejects traditional and biblical norms of family construction, is creating a confused, depressed, and fractured population. Men and women with a confused self-identity and self-confidence are the product of this fatherlessness epidemic and this affirmation crisis.
In 2010, popular actress Jennifer Aniston, who played a hopeful mom-to-be seeking a sperm donor in the movie The Switch, told reporters, "Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you have waited too long."
In 2012, the New York Times opined, "Ultimately the question is, does 'mankind' really need men? With human cloning technology just around the corner and enough frozen sperm in the world to already populate many generations, perhaps we should perform a cost-benefit analysis."
In his book, Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked, Paul Raeburn wrote that "as recently as a generation ago, in the 1970s, most psychologists" believed that "with regard to infants, especially, fathers were thought to have little or no role to play."
Once considered the pillar of a healthy society, the traditional family has been ridiculed and even scorned in movies, television situation comedies, and media commentaries. The father who used to "know best" has been replaced by moronic buffoons.
In a Psychology Today article, Jim Taylor, PhD, wrote, "Over the past two decades, children who, for example, watch television, have received messages from popular culture telling them that parents are selfish, immature, incompetent, and generally clueless, for example, from Malcolm in the Middle, Tool Time, Family Guy, Two and a Half Men, and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, not to mention reality TV shows such as Supernanny and the Housewives franchise."
Concerning the effect of technology on the family, he went on to say, "As a result, children will feel less familiarity, comfort, trust, security, and, most importantly, love from their parents. There is also less sharing which means that parents know less about what is going on in their children's lives and, consequently, have less ability to exert influence over them."
"Long gone are the days of series such as The Donna Reed Show or Father Knows Best with the picture-perfect home life. Today's television families are more apt to be discussing interracial dating or single motherhood à la Keeping Up With the Kardashians or the challenges of a gay-couple parenting, like on Modern Family.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Affirmation Crisis"
Copyright © 2018 Randy Hix.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
My Personal Awakening, 1,
The Family Under Siege, 9,
Fatherlessness – The American Epidemic, 17,
A Father's Influence, 31,
The Father Wound, 45,
The Wounded Spirit, 55,
The Orphan Spirit, 67,
The Original Family Blueprint, 75,
The Father's Blessing, 81,
The Power of Affirmation, 95,
Finding Your Affirmation, 105,