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By Jonathan D. Grow 

As I have grown up year after year, I realize how not having a dad or functional family has really put me at a disadvantage. If I had been taught how to do things I would be in a different place with my relationships, emotionally and in life. There are so many essential things a Dad teaches a son. If a Dad isn’t present he can’t show his son how to be a man.

Why is a Dad being present so important?

Only a man can show a boy how to be a man. I know there are a lot of single mothers out there raising sons.  I’m not saying they are a doing a bad job, but for a son to be a fully realized man in society, he needs another man in his life to show him things.  I was at restaurant one day and this little boy was only with his mom.  He looked at me intently then looked at another table full of guys.  No, I can’t assume he’s completely fatherless, but something inside of me made me feel as if he was yearning to be with us guys.  I realized at that moment that whenever a young boy sees a man, there’s a desire to connect if he doesn’t have a dad at home.

Dads have abandoned their posts as leaders of the household. The ones who suffered first were the moms and then the sons. The really crazy part about this is the high probability that the son will follow in his father’s footsteps even though he promised himself he wouldn’t be like him.

How does a Dad help with relationships?

A dad is the first person that a baby will make a relationship with outside the womb. If he isn’t there to establish that relationship with the baby, there’s a huge possibility that the baby’s future relationships will most likely fail. The question I ask myself is would I have played all those girls if my dad was in my life. Would he have taught me how to be about one girl at a time? Maybe how to love them and care for them.  I probably could have been a better man if he was around.

Could he have helped me emotionally?

Would I be able to express myself in a healthier way?  Would my anger have gotten the best me of all the time? Maybe I could have understood it was okay to cry. That trusting others and loving them is okay. That understanding my emotions were still manly and part of being a human being. Maybe if I knew those things, I wouldn’t have repressed all my emotions all the time.

How could my dad have helped me establish myself?

For starters my dad would have validated me.  A son needs his dad’s validation or they seek this validation in uncommon ways because we don’t even know we are looking for validation. He could have taught me the things his dad taught him: like saving money for yourself.  He could have supported me in achieving my dreams, shown me how to follow them and not let them go. How to stand up for them even though I would be the only one.  How to make me wise in taking care of my name in this world because it’s important and represents who I am.

There’s so much more a dad is to his son.  He is his teacher, hero, supporter, critique, friend and also his dad.  Not being there causes young boys to look for men who can be that in their lives and eventually can look like outbursts in different ways.  This can also hurt your son.  So to all the men who are fathers, but absent:  be a different man and don’t abandon your son because chances are he is still looking for you in different ways.

I have my battle with growing up without a dad, but today I know I’m searching to be my own man.  However, I’m not going to lie, it put me at a disadvantage.  But now I’m bouncing back to realize that I can still change.  I’m not being the same man as my dad but a different one.  I have God guiding me.

To all the guys who grew up like I did or are growing up that way, you can also be different.  Just don’t forget what it feels like to not have had a dad and think would you want your son to feel the same way.  I know I wouldn’t.  So let’s be different and create a new legacy.  With God it’s possible.

To read more blogs from Jonathan, visit www.jonathandgrow.com