Blog

The Father's Blessing: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by Becky Cerling Powers

Probably all fathers fail their children to some degree. Claude Powers was a man who failed his child, then backed up and tried to make up for his failure.

Claude actually started out as a good father. But when his own father and brother died a couple years apart in the late 1950s, he started drinking heavily.

The blessing children need

Then the bottle took over, and of course, that affected his son Dennis. For Dennis, like all children, needed his father to weave three consistent messages of unconditional acceptance into the fabric of his life:

To me you are special.

No matter what, I love you.

You’re part of me; we belong together.

An alcoholic dad

When Dennis was about 12, his dad became a sneaky bottle-hider who told lies, wasted the family income in bars and dumped his farming responsibilities on his son.

So instead of sending his son a father’s reassuring messages of faithful love and acceptance, Claude sent Dennis the message of the alcoholic: “Alcohol is more important than you are. You will always be relatively unimportant.”

Stifling the pain, burying the anger

Dennis stifled the pain, avoided his dad, and proved to his small community that he was important after all. He did exceptionally well in school, collecting enough high school credits to leave for the university one year early.

In college he kept in touch with his parents and made sure the family relationship appeared fine to relatives and neighbors. In reality, he buried his anger and walled himself off emotionally from his dad.

But God heals broken hearts. Fathers and sons can reconcile.

Facing up to failure

A dozen years after Claude’s alcoholism took serious hold, Dennis’s parents discovered Alcoholics Anonymous and Al Anon, and Claude started sobering up through AA’s 12-Step Program. About that same time Dennis began attending church and hearing about forgiveness.

Struggling to forgive

Since the relationship was not damaged overnight, healing did not occur overnight. Claude worked on his end of the problem by giving up alcohol and making amends as best as he could. Dennis worked out his part by accepting his father’s efforts and struggling through the process of forgiveness.

Deep healing in time

But in the end, the really deep healing occurred nearly twenty years later. And curiously, the only part Claude played in that final act of the drama was simply to grow old and lose his mind.

Claude became a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. At first he merely grew forgetful. Then, as his brain cells died in patches, he lost his smile, his charm, his good judgment and his table manners. He forgot how to dress, how to shave, how to bathe. About the time he forgot how to talk, he lost control of his body and had to wear diapers.

Hands on care

Every night Dennis would walk over to his parent’s mobile home, lead his 80-year-old father into the bathroom, and peel off his diaper. Then he toileted him, undressed him, and bathed him.

In this process, somehow, Dennis found his healing.

Blessing restored

When the father became like a child, the child became his own father’s father. For Dennis, forgiveness became complete through the work of his own hands as he lived out the messages of blessing he had needed so much as a teen to receive from his father:

To me you are special.

No matter what, I love you.

You’re part of me; we belong together.

What Jesus said

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” (Matthew 5:7).

Today’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I have let you down and I’ve let other people down. Just like Dennis’ father let him down by neglecting him and withholding the blessing Dennis needed, I have neglected and withheld blessing from family and others who needed my affirmation and love. Now I need mercy. I need forgiveness. I need your blessing. As I read the Bible, help me hear your message of love and mercy and grace for me personally. Amen.

©1991 & 2018 Becky Cerling Powers

Reprint with attribution only

Share This Blog:


Previous Posts

Insights & Reflections for Parents in December: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
12/1/2021

Pied Piper Dad: memorial and parenting reflections from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
11/22/2021

Golden Rule Respect: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
11/12/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in November: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
11/4/2021

Enjoying Money Without Spending it: insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/14/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in October: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/1/2021

Yes Means Yes, No Means No: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/26/2021

The Tire 'Em Out Principle for Long Trips and Schoolwork: insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/18/2021

Family Treasure Hunts: parenting insights from the parent powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/12/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in September: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/1/2021

The Handy Dandy Adaptable Review Game, Cooperation Concentration: Parent Powerline insights
Becky Cerling Powers
8/2/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in August: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
7/30/2021

Camping with Kids: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
7/28/2021

Hymn for a Baby: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
7/22/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in July: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
7/1/2021

In Sickness or in Health: a faith based Father's Day Story from the Story Powerline
David Melin as told to Becky Cerling Powers
6/16/2021

Why Smart Kids Can't All Read by Age 6: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
6/10/2021

Being with Dad: a faith-based story from the Story Powerline
Glen A Hinshaw
6/9/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in June: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/31/2021

Home Style Secrets of Kids' Learning Success: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/24/2021

The Balances of Parenting: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/18/2021

Letting Daughters Grow: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/8/2021

Insights & Reflections for Parents in May: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/1/2021

Reading Lots of Easy Books Produces Fluent Readers: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/22/2021

Reflections for Parents in April, Week Two: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/12/2021

Helping Kids with Math: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/5/2021

Reflections for Parents in April, Week One: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/1/2021

Trouble -- the doorway to God's Kingdom: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
3/25/2021

Honey Tree: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
3/23/2021

Watching for the Positives: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
3/21/2021

Give Your Children Sticky Minds: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
3/15/2021

The Law of Kindness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Laura Jane Cerling
3/12/2021

Eyes in the Lookout: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Glen A Hinshaw
3/10/2021

Focusing on the good stuff: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Joe Herman
3/5/2021

The Grumble Family: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Anonymous
3/3/2021

Being a Better Parent...One Week at a Time...in March
Becky Cerling Powers
2/28/2021

Henry O. Flipper: a black history month story from the Story Powerline
Randy Limbird
2/24/2021

Preparing to Raise Teens: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
2/18/2021

Neighbor Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
2/17/2021

No Matter What, I Love You Every Day: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers and Robert G Cerling
2/14/2021

Mental Maps: a faith based story on love from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
2/10/2021

Putting Myself in the Love Chapter: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Erik Powers
2/8/2021

Reading to Babies: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
2/5/2021

Being a Better Parent....One Week at a Time...in February 2021
Becky Cerling Powers
2/1/2021

Resolving the Past: a faith-based story from the Story Powerline
Sharon Withers as told to Becky Cerling Powers
1/22/2021

God Sets the Lonely in Families: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Sharon Withers as told to Becky Cerling Powers
1/21/2021

Keep Trying: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Laura Jane Cerling
1/13/2021

Hooray for Mother Goose! Parenting Insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
1/5/2021

Being a Better Parent....One Week at a Time...in January 2021
Becky Cerling Powers
1/2/2021

Working With -- Not Against -- Life Seasons: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
12/28/2020

Why Play With the Kids? parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
12/21/2020

Breaking Barriers with Kindness: a faith based Christmas story from the Story Powerline
Laura Jane Cerling
12/10/2020

Shoe Shine Boy: a faith based Christmas story from the Story Powerline
Ruben Fierro as told to Maria Luisa Navarro
12/4/2020

Slow Down for Christmas: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
12/1/2020

Ruth & Boaz, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Maria Luisa Navarro
11/12/2020

Ruth & Boaz, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Maria Luisa Navarro
11/9/2020

Enemies No More, Part 2: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/30/2020

Enemies No More, Part 1: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/28/2020

Double Minded Doggie: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/22/2020

The Father's Blessing: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/13/2020

Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
10/10/2020

Hill of Woman's Fidelity: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Becky Cerling Powers
10/1/2020

In Praise of Naps: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/28/2020

Music Enriches the Family: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/10/2020

Pre-School at Home During Covid-19: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
8/21/2020

Parenting in the Mess: Tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
8/16/2020

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
8/4/2020

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
8/4/2020

Temptation: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Glen A. Hinshaw
7/23/2020

TALK: A Simple Way to Help Kids with School: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
7/21/2020

Honest Abe Lincoln: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Randy Limbird
7/14/2020

The Most Conscientious Hunter I Ever Met: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Glen A. Hinshaw
6/24/2020

Washing Feet: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers and Lee Merrill Byrd
6/17/2020

No Parking: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
6/10/2020

Ruby Bridges, part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
6/3/2020

Ruby Bridges, part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
6/2/2020

Raising Fluent Readers: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/29/2020

Unwanted Baby: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Eileen as told to Becky Cerling Powers
5/26/2020

Family Funnies: Tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/22/2020

Joey's Letters: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Lee Merrill Byrd
5/21/2020

Alzheimer Valley: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
5/13/2020

New Bride Confusion: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
5/12/2020

Amaris Luz, Light from Darkness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Lee Merrill Byrd
4/28/2020

Losing Poetry: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/22/2020

Let Kids Cure Their Own Boredom: Tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/15/2020

Naaman, Rich in Money and Presumption: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs and Becky Cerling Powers
4/14/2020

David, Bathsheba & Psalm 51: a faith based story story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
4/9/2020

The Hundred Chart: math lesson tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/8/2020

The Beer Would Call Me: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Beatriz Balcort as told to Becky Cerling Powers
4/7/2020

Turned Around: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Brian Bolton with Becky Cerling Powers
4/2/2020

Toddlers Helping During COVID-19 and Beyond: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
4/1/2020

Elijah & the Captain of 50 Men: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Becky Cerling Powers
3/31/2020

Fear in Residence: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
3/24/2020

Household Management During COVID-19 Time: tips from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
3/23/2020

Dreaming of Anita Jo: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
3/12/2020

No Complaint Dinners: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Laura Jane Cerling
3/10/2020

DIY Plumbing: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Jennifer Cummings
3/5/2020

A Brother's Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Becky Cerling Powers
3/3/2020

My Two Dads, part three: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers
2/27/2020

My Two Dads, part two: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers
2/26/2020

My Two Dads, part one: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers
2/25/2020

Grandma's Apron: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Jennifer Cummings
2/20/2020

Colors of the Beetle: a retold faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
2/13/2020

Cantaloupe Crop Disaster: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Glen Hinshaw
2/5/2020

Afraid to Sleep at Night (Psalm 91): a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
1/22/2020

How the Camel Got His Hump: a retold faith based story
Becky Cerling Powers
1/13/2020

Growing Up With Polio: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Laura Jane Cerling
1/9/2020

All Things Bright and Beautiful: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers, poem by Cecil Frances Alexander
1/7/2020

One Dollar for a Donut: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
1/1/2020

Star of Wonder
Paula Kortkamp Combs
12/26/2019

The Shepherds
Paula Kortkamp Combs
12/24/2019

Mary and the Angel
Paula Kortkamp Combs
12/18/2019

Zechariah
Paula Kortkamp Combs
12/17/2019

Christmas Cookies: a a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Laura Jane Cerling
12/10/2019

First Thanksgiving, Part 2: Beginning in Weakness (a faith based story)
Rami Scully
11/28/2019

First Thanksgiving, Part 3: Gifts & Gratitude (a faith based story from the Story Powerline)
Rami Scully
11/28/2019

First Thanksgiving, Part 1: Enduring the Sea Voyage (a faith based story)
Rami Scully
11/27/2019

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 3: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Néaouguen Nodjimbadem as told to Becky Cerling Powers
11/22/2019

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Néaouguen Nodjimbadem
11/19/2019

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Nodji (Néaouguen Nodjimbadem) as told to Becky Cerling Powers
11/12/2019

Preventing Parent Burnout: from the Parent Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
11/4/2019

Grandma Time: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Jennifer Cummings
11/1/2019

Safe Amid Snakes and Semi-Trucks: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/30/2019

The Love & Diaper (Nappy) Connection
Becky Cerling Powers
10/25/2019

Avon Perfume Surprise: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/22/2019

Saving Butterscotch: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Karen M. Pickett Ward
10/16/2019

The Patient in Room 116: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
10/8/2019

Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs
10/2/2019

My Mysterious Relative & the Missing Paycheck: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/26/2019

Keeping in Touch with Cousins: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
9/24/2019

How the Ostrich Got His Long Neck: a faith based retold story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Becky Cerling Powers
9/9/2019

When Life Goes Up in Smoke: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Glen A. Hinshaw
8/20/2019