Preface to the Fatherhood Essays

This is the preface to the Fatherhood essays that I am writing.

I have been a grandson, son, father, grandfather and recent great-grandfather, yet the memories of becoming a new father remain fresh in my mind. Severe chronic challenges were encountered,  yet, with God's help I was able to prevail. This collection of essays is about what was learned on that journey from a young man to a great-grand-father. Many things were learned, challenges overcome, mistakes and memories were made; a lot of growing was done by the entire family.

These essays contain the observations, experiences and challenges that were faced by up to 4 generations of fathers. The manner of writing used here may seem a bit severe, perhaps even negative at times. The motive of heart is to communicate the unvarnished truth so that, with God's help, you too can prevail as a father. These writings can serve as kind of a template of several fathers' approach to managing the challenges and issues of fatherhood. I don't think the challenges are unique, but the response to these challenges will be unique. The issues raised in these essays may help you prepare for the unexpected.

In my journey through life, there was almost no training available on how to handle or manage the challenges of life. I had to learn how to manage and how to grow while struggling to keep the family together. These essays do not contain problem solving "recipes". You, your situations, and circumstances are all unique and demand unique responses which ultimately are determined by you.

Sudden, surprising challenges can scramble your life, goals, ambitions, relationships, self-image, and feelings. You can be plunged into an unfamiliar, unpleasant, painful, and confusing world. What is disclosed here are the tools and skills that have been important to be able to navigate such a world and to endure the challenges that were encountered.

You may find these essays a bit "preachy" and be overwhelmed by all the advice that is presented. Be assured that what is presented here is not theory; I lived what is shared here. My initial experience as a father was to make mistake after mistake and almost become a complete failure. It required time to become skillful. These essays expose the reader to decades of learning in a very short amount of time. Give yourself time to absorb what is shared. It is expected that the reader may experience some very strong emotions about this information, just as I did. I was driven to find the truth, so regardless of my emotions, I worked to learn until there was a resolution and I was at peace. This requires time and patience.

Fatherhood is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. As you endure and prevail, your children can learn to endure and prevail as well.

To the Father and Mother

It requires and father and mother to produce a child. A child needs both a father and a mother to raise him or her. This is a biological, genetic requirement, not an artificial social construct based on artificial gender roles. As such, it is a godly human right for each child to have a male father and a female mother to raise that child. It is best that the father and mother fulfill their responsibilities together with unity of purpose. I raised my children with their mother but I am not qualified to write about motherhood.

To society in general

In these essays, I unapologetically use gender specific pronouns which accurately reflect reality. If the reader finds this to be offensive, then my advice is to stop reading. 

 

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKJKXHE

The paperback is available at
https://www.createspace.com/4552448
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe

The Quest for Deliverance

Knowledge, even self-knowledge is power. The knowledge presented here is to help you begin to develop skills to stand against the challenges of life that can confront your family. The quest for deliverance can be harmful, unless you understand the risks.

One of the worst, heart-rending challenges is a father's inability to protect his precious children from every merciless attack. Accidents, sickness and disease all expose this human weakness. When these challenges happen to a child, various emotions can be overwhelming to the father and the despair of helplessness can dominate. These emotions can debilitate even the strongest father. Our ignorance about how to proceed can be costly and even dangerous.

It is completely natural and understandable to be driven to find a solution, a cure, just as quickly as possible, regardless of the cost. There is the desire for healing so that life can get back to normal. The attack on the child is also an attack on our plans, schedules, finances, almost everything of critical importance that holds our life together. These could all crumble into a magnificent ruin. A cure MUST be found RIGHT NOW! It is certainly not obvious, but I have found that this is an ineffective mind-set. Panic is never advised. The desperate, singular focus on obtaining (and expecting) an immediate cure can produce additional long term anguish, pain, and suffering for the family.

All 4 generations of my family (starting with my grandfathers) have experienced chronic health related challenges. I spent years focused on and expecting a cure for the challenges in my immediate family. I observed other branches of the family in the same quest. We all ended up without the expected complete deliverance. Religion and the self-help industry provided lots of advice, but few godly results. I have seen people at this point become consumed with anger and bitterness directed at their heavenly father. My response was to return to the scriptures and research each record of healing that I could find, looking for a "healing recipe". There had to be something that all the accounts had in common, something I was missing. What was found was not what I expected.

I did not find a "healing recipe". Every single act of godly deliverance was different, tailored to the individual and their unique circumstances. There was one attribute which was common to a majority of the accounts. This one attribute is "endurance". Those in need endured, sometimes for years. My response to this discovery was to end my singular focus on deliverance. Instead, I focused on "enduring until deliverance". I had a great conflict about this change because it contradicted so much of what I (and others) had been taught. The bottom line is that what "prosperity" religion and the self-help industry adherents believe is that to change their focus on deliverance is a capitulation to the challenge. They believe it is wrong, is sinful, and is dishonoring God. There is much fear associated with this destructive, erroneous, singular focus on deliverance.  However, what I had been taught was shown to be in error, so I continued with my new focus on "enduring until deliverance". This change in focus made a dramatic difference in my life and family. Now it was OK to make incremental improvements without the attending feelings of condemnation, disappointment and failure. The stress and pressure to produce complete deliverance NOW was gone. Virtually every aspect of my family life improved. It wasn't that things got easier or the circumstances changed. I changed, and was able to become skillful in this aspect of life.

All these improvements did not happen overnight; I did not get skillful the next day. No, this required years of patient persistence. The first thing that happened was the release from the emotional stress, condemnation and disappointment produced by the singular focus on deliverance. This release provided more energy to apply to endurance; I became stronger. Notice that I had to learn to become skillful while under attack. It is another example of "on the job training" which we experience. My children who lived through these challenging times learned how to endure. They made these skills their own as they endured their own challenges as adults.

No, you won't find the deliverance you are seeking for every challenge that faces you. We all die of something. We will all be working to improve some aspect of our life when we do pass away. Growth and improvement is a never ending process in this life. I have spoken to other beloved children of God who are enduring chronic health issues. They have not allowed these challenges to stop them from serving and walking with God.

My maternal grandfather had learned to live in this practical way. When his son-in-law, my uncle, became totally blind, grandpa used his contacts to obtain a scholarship at a premier school for the blind. My uncle eventually obtained a PHD in psychology. In his career, he began pioneering research with emotionally disturbed handicapped children. By standing against these formidable challenges and enduring, he became a man, husband and father of great godly value. His family continued with the singular focus on deliverance which (I believe) took an emotional toll on them. The difficulty with their quest certainly touched my heart. In the end, none of this prevented the godly impact of his family in this life.

Things that rob your endurance and peace

When you and your family are faced with the challenges of life such as accidents and illness, there are common reactions which are not beneficial. These reactions, although understandable, actually weaken us. The challenges of life are actually processes of destruction. This process of destruction is designed to influence the victim, close family and caretakers to abandon their self-directed life. You then are bound to a life which is directed by uncontrollable circumstances and overwhelming emotion. It is accomplished through a process of stimulus and response to keep you emotionally upset, hopeless, helpless and weak. Understanding the nature of the attack and its purpose can help you resist the processes that are at work.

For years I asked the questions, "why me?", "why do I have to go through this?" "what did I do wrong?", "when will this end?". You may have asked these or other similar questions. Eventually I learned that having the answers to these questions would not help me endure. In some cases the answers could prove burdensome. It is better not to dwell on these questions. I have provided foundational answer to the question "what did I do wrong?" in my book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity". This book will also help with the obsessive religious habits of self-accusation and self-condemnation.

It is very detrimental to hide and suppress any anger you may have with God. This anger may be suppressed out of guilt. God is much bigger than our emotions and our limited view. It is better to honestly open your heart to him and share yourself with him. You are his child and he will treat you with all the love he has. Yes, I have been angry with him. It may sound silly, but for my own health I even forgave him because of my emotional perception of having been harmed. Some emotions can't be prevented!

There is nothing godly to gain by playing the "blame game". If blame is affixed to something or someone, the next step is to "make sure it never happens again", which is nothing but revenge. All this is actually part of the destructive process which challenges you. It is designed to rob your strength and peace. It does this by keeping you angry, upset, bitter and focused on how unfairly hurt you are. Ultimately you become a chronic victim, consumed and imprisoned by anger and bitterness. There is no deliverance to be had on this path of destruction.

Although it may require some time, when disaster strikes, discard the panic as quickly as possible. Manage the immediate needs but be prepared for the long-haul. Don't give yourself over to anger, bitterness or despair. Share your anger and grief with God. Keep your focus on your family and their needs. For yourself, keep your focus on enduring until deliverance is achieved!

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKJKXHE

The paperback is available at
https://www.createspace.com/4552448
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe