Thursday, June 30, 2016

Father’s Day event calls attention to daughters

Steve and Lori Williams (left to right) and Deborah Farrow (third from left)
sponsored "Daughters Lives Matter." (Photos by Wiley Henry)
     Luther Sweeney and his wife were devastated when their first child didn’t make it into the world. They prayed and prayed for another one. Then Michelle Sweeney was born, her father’s pride and joy. A son would come later.
“We’re here on this earth for a purpose,” said Luther Sweeney, who accompanied his daughter to a pre-Father’s Day event at Two By Two House of Prayer on June 18 called “Daughters Lives Matter,” a San Bernardino, Calif.-based concept to promote better father and daughter relationships.
Founded by Terry Boykins, Daughters Lives Matter is a Street Positive collaboration comprising “fatherhood advocates, women raised with/without fathers, and girl mentoring programs,” which spawned three key principles: education attainment, victimization prevention and poverty avoidance.”
Luther Sweeney and daughter Michelle talk about the
importance of a father establishing a relationship and
providing for his daughter.
“If you don’t spend time with your child, somebody else will. I guarantee it,” said Boykins, warning parents via voicemail and on the Street Positive website of the lure of predators and other consequences of parental detachment.
“A father is supposed to meet his daughter’s needs – not when she comes to him and ask, but when she doesn’t have to ask,” said Luther Sweeney, an administrator at Southwest Tennessee Community College and instructor at Prayer House Church International.
The event was sponsored by Wings of Love, Inc., a non-profit organization founded by Deborah Farrow to motivate and strengthen today’s youth, and hosted by Steve and Lori Williams, co-executive directors of Two By Two House of Prayer.
“When I was young, I was timid and shy. The other girls got the guys, but I knew I had the intelligence,” said Farrow, who wanted her father to validate that she was pretty and that she had a voice in the world with gifts and abilities. “I didn’t get that.”
Farrow said she had a good father, “but he wasn’t always there in my life. I never got the compliments. I see how women get involved with the wrong guys, drugs and prostitution.”
Before her father died, Farrow got closer. “I learned a lot from him,” she said. “If we can get a significant amount of women to tell their story so young women can hear what they’re going through, this campaign will save a lot of lives.”
Michelle Sweeney offered her perspective on fathers and their daughters as it relates to the love of Jesus Christ. “We’re called to see every daughter as the daughter of Jesus Christ,” she explained to the small gathering. “I thank the Lord I have a father who sees me as Christ sees me.”
When fathers are present and engaged in the lives of their daughters, things will change for the better and the relationship will blossom, the 28-year-old filmmaker said. She is working on a documentary about human sex trafficking. And like her father, she considers her work a ministry.
“Everything you do is a ministry, because you’re meeting somebody’s needs,” he said. “You have to have Scripture behind everything you say or do. Other than that, it’s an opinion.”
“It’s an event to promote the positive influence that dads can have on their daughters’ lives from a biblical perspective,” said Steve Williams. “We hope it’s a seed event for a more expanded gathering for dads and daughters.”

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