Encouragement for Single Fathers

Never in my entire life did I think that I would be raising my little boys by myself. It is very difficult for me to express this because it’s something that really still resonates with me on a day-to-day basis and causes a lot of pain.

I didn’t grow up in a broken home. I had two loving and caring parents (who will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year). I grew up in a very good home with a daily example of what a family is supposed to look like. As a child, I had a lot of friends that came from single-family homes. One of my friends who used to come to my house all the time made the statement that my family was like the Cosby Show. I never understood that until I became a single parent and realized how blessed I was to have both my mom and dad there with me.

It really breaks my heart to know that my two little boys do not have the experience of being raised in the kind of family that God intended: a marriage between a man and a woman that provides the love of both a mother and a father. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I’m so busy just trying to do the jobs of both parents.

I have, however, found ways to overcome a lot of these challenges. I have found that I can triumph over them through prayer, knowing that no matter the situation God will see me through it. I can say this with assurance because my journey in the last four years has proven it: the difference between where I started from and where I am today is all because of Jesus Christ.

He has been by my side through every situation and in the midst of every struggle. I have found that, in those times when things get very difficult and I am in a really dark place, I can drop to my knees and start crying out to Him. Suddenly, there is a peace that overcomes me and I know deep down inside that everything is going to be okay. And it always is.

I would like to offer some words of encouragement for single fathers.

Set Aside Time for Yourself and for Quality Moments with Your Children.

One of the biggest struggles I face as a father is finding quality time to spend with my little boys so that I can teach them about God, about being a good man, about being responsible, and about learning the valuable lesson that a man’s word is his bond.

Managing my day-to-day life can also be a challenge. Most of the time I am just trying to do the things I have to do in order to survive – to do the things that they need so they can get through the day and be successful. Working full time, coming home and taking care of my two boys, attending graduate school, and trying to find some time for myself can be very difficult. Doing the job of two parents sometimes gets in the way of finding time to spend with my two sons. Even though they are with me full-time, so often I spend my time cleaning the house, doing laundry, preparing dinner, getting their lunches and clothes ready for the next day, getting them bathed, and also dealing with the typical boy issues that come along with two little boys.

As a single father it is so important that you find some time for yourself because you deserve it and you also need it.

Maintain a Positive Approach when Dealing with Your Children’s Mother.

Sometimes my son asks difficult questions about his relationship with his mom. There are times when our situation upsets me and I want to answer the question from an angry perspective. But it is then that I have to remind myself that I have to be very careful what I say to my son because the last thing I want is for him to harbor resentment towards his mother or towards women in general. Instead, I just remind him that his mom loves him, that he should pray for her, and that he needs to value and enjoy the time he does have with her.

I believe it’s very important for my sons to understand that even though she has her faults, they need to love, respect, and honor their mom no matter what. I really try to emphasize to them that they need to pray for their mom consistently.

As single fathers sometimes we can hold some resentment and bitterness towards an ex-spouse and sometimes things do slip out of our mouths when it comes to an ex but it is so important to remember that that person is the mother of our children. We must remember to teach our children by our own example not to let anger, bitterness, or hatred win.

It’s not our place to judge. It’s our place to love and to forgive. Our greatest responsibility as fathers is to ensure that we’re teaching our children about the Word of God. We have to be the godly examples in their lives because the morals and the values that our children learn are going to come from their fathers. They’re going to learn from the men who have taken care of them and provided for them.

Get Involved in Your Church!

If you belong to a local church, get involved with the ministry because it will allow you to spend more time at your church and it will allow you to have your kids there with you at the church. That has been the most valuable thing I have done in the past five years.

I have a great local church where I got involved with our singles group and eventually became one of the ministers there. The relationships that I have developed within my assembly have also been some of the greatest and most positive influences in my life. To be able to be around people who know how to pray, who love God with everything they have, who have such amazing wisdom and knowledge, and who just love others and love to serve them, has been one of the greatest blessings God could ever bestow on me and my two little boys.

Find a Mentor.

Find a good, solid, godly man who you can pour yourself out to – someone who you can talk to, share very personal things with, and call in the middle of night to ask for prayer. I’ve been able to develop that type of relationship with a couple of the men in my church and that has also been a tremendous blessing for me. It has really helped me to develop the godly relationships I need to have and to deal with some of the stresses that come with life. I would encourage you to seek out some of these things because it will be a blessing both to you and to your children.

Develop and Maintain an Active Spiritual Life.

The best advice I can give to my fellow dads out there is to pray. Make prayer a daily activity in your life. Read your Bible make sure that is also a part of your day-to-day activities. I say this with the utmost sincerity. I know how difficult your day can be. I know how trying your day can be sometimes and I also understand how tired physically and mentally you are when you get home and how most the time all you want to do is go to sleep. But really fight to find time for prayer and Bible reading. This is something that I really strive to establish in my life because I know what the benefit that lies in the end result.

Rely on Jesus Christ and put your trust in Him and He will never let you down. He will never forsake you nor will He ever leave your side. Even in those times when you feel like you’re all alone in the world – when you feel like you’re going to lose control and you don’t know how you’re going to get through this – turn to Him because He’s right there and you will feel the peace that you’re searching for. You will know that He is there and that He understands the situation.

I often think of Numbers 6:24-26:

The LORD bless thee and keep thee: the LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Never Give Up!

No matter what the situation is, what tragedies you have face, how difficult things may seem, how hard things may get, and how hard you may be thinking in the back your mind “I just want to give up,” I implore you not to. Even though you may think that God is not there, or that He will not see you through, I assure you He is and He will.

Press forward because at the end of it all you’re going to get the victory. One day your children are going to know that no matter how hard things got – how difficult the situation was – their dad was always there. They will know that he loved them and took care of them. Just like God is always there, you as a father always need to be there for your children. You might be the only thing that allows them to see the glory of God as it shines through you.

May God bless you and your family.

Gilbert Salgado

Gilbert Salgado is a 38-year-old special education teacher and father of two little boys, Simeon (10) and Josias (8). Josias has both autism and Smith–Magenis Syndrome (SMS), a chromosomal disorder wherein the 17th chromosome has been deleted. Gilbert served in the United States Army for 5 1/2 years as a commissioned officer. He currently attends First Church Harker Heights in Harker Heights, Texas. He serves on the ministerial staff where he has the pleasure and honor of being able to lead to ministries in his local assembly. The Rock Support Group is a special-needs ministry that is open to the community to provide support for special-needs parents. He also leads the Divorce Care ministry, a ministry that is also open to the community and is devoted to providing support to hurting people in the church and/or community who are currently separated or divorced. Visit him on Facebook.

5 Comments

    • Christina
      reply

      Awesome!

      • Cheri Grissom
        reply

        Thanks! :)

    • Kathy Blanton
      reply

      Wow! I commend you! What a tough job you face everyday. Its hard enough raising kids with 2 parents, God is giving you the strength and ability .I know God is with you. stay Strong in the lord. he will see you through. i raised 3 on my own, i am proof he will see you through, he did for us!

      • Cheri Grissom
        reply

        Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging comments!

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