How many of you saw the video of first-time father Antwon Lee comforting his infant son, Debias, when he got his first immunizations?
I did, with more than 16 million others. I loved the way Antwon fathered his son by holding him and speaking hope into him.
“Stay strong” and “It’s OK to cry.”
He kept speaking words of encouragement as he put his son down on the examination table in the doctor’s office. Debias began to cry when he received his first shot and dad said, “Come on, man, I feel your pain. Come on, man, daddy loves you.”
The nurse gave Debias two more shots, but Antwon kept encouraging his son and he quickly calmed down.
The voice of a father can turn a cry into a coo, not because of how profound the words are, but in reminding the child, “I’m here, and it’s going to be OK.”
The video of the father and son from Warrenton, Georgia struck a chord with so many people because the words of a father have incredible power in our lives. The words spoken over us can either give us hope or wound us. Especially the words from our fathers.
God has made every one of us to be loved and blessed by our fathers. But if fathers aren’t loving or aren’t around – the National Center for Fathering says there are more than 20 million fatherless children in our country — we suffer from wounds inflicted by them.
That fatherless story is heard in our music, seen in our movies, read in our blogs and protested on our streets. It is a story of shame, loneliness and rejection. Many fatherless girls and boys turn to the wrong things because they have lost hope in who they can become without a father like Antwon telling them, “I am here and it’s going to be OK.”
So if fatherlessness has created many of the problems in our culture, then a present, loving father has always been God’s way to heal hurting families.
In the closing chapter of the Old Testament, Malachi hears from heaven how God is going to heal the wounds of a father for those who are still waiting for their father blessing:
“Before the great and coming day of the Lord, [God says] I will turn the hearts of fathers back to their children.”
That is why I believe Antwon’s video touched so many people.
We all long to see a father love his sons and daughters like that. Antwon spoke words to his son that many of us have yet to hear from our own dads. The wound of the father and lack of a father speaking blessing into his children is the greatest social problem of our day.
What would change in our communities if they were filled with present, loving fathers?
I believe that we are living on the cusp of a great move of God as He is turning hearts of fathers back to their children. I am so grateful that God started turning my heart back to my children before I lost them.
If God is turning your heart, then He is going to give you the grace to be the kind of dad that you might not have had yourself.
The video didn’t tell you that Antwon’s own father died earlier that day. Knowing that Antwon was able to bless his son even though he would not have his own father anymore makes that video even more powerful.
“I felt his pain but at the same time, it was all about love,” Antwon told ABC News. “I know he felt the love because his daddy was there.”
No matter what kind of family story you have, it is never too late for your kids to have the dad you have always wanted to be. Here is a promise from God to you:
“…I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)
With a Father like that, nothing is impossible!
Ed Tandy McGlasson is the founder of Blessing of the Father Ministries and the creator of “The Blessing of the Father for Families” video series and workbook.