This week, we continue our discussion with Ricky Garza. Ricky offers his insight on the extreme importance of a father’s role in the house. Study after study reveals that a dad’s role in a cohesive home is actually more important than a mother’s role, since a dad teaches a boy how to be a man and teaches his daughters how to have a relationship with a man, which transcend to healthier adulthoods for both.
That being said, it’s no secret that the healthiest family structure is for a family to have a loving mom and dad at home.
For Ricky, not having his father around in those early years really hurt him in a lot of ways, especially regarding relationships between men and women and what it means to “be a man”. And, when his dad was around, Ricky saw him hit his mom, cheat on her, and exposed even his small children to porn films.
Without a father in the home and a healthy relationship with him, statistics prove time after time that children are much more likely to end up in jail, end up pregnant or getting a girl pregnant, getting addicted to drugs, or worse. And the health of the relationship is key! It’s not enough for a dad just to “be” in the home. It’s not enough if they are merely in the background, but unengaged in their children’s lives.
Ricky has learned this lesson, as he has two daughters of his own now. From minute one, he knew that he would not be the type of dad his father was.
No, Ricky wanted to be just like how his dad IS, not how he WAS.
For the past sixteen years, Ricky and his dad have a phenomenal relationship, and they both LOVE being dad/grandpa to Ricky’s little girls, as well.
Ricky knows that he needs to engage with his little princesses at every level today, while he still is their “favorite man”. He knows this phase of life will pass (he just prays that it won’t happen until they are 60), but he also knows how great of a role he has to play today. Otherwise (as he also knows all to well) someone else will, and it won’t have a happy ending.
One of the greatest lessons Ricky gets to teach his daughters, as well as the kids he speaks with at local schools, is the importance of waiting before having sex.
When it comes to Ricky’s own life, he can easily look in life’s rear view mirror and see God’s hand at work. One example is the way in which he met his wife.
Ricky was in the eighth grade. His dad, at that time, was clean, repentant, and working at a local church (it was pretty much the only place that would hire him with his rap sheet). His dad would drive Ricky to school each morning on his way to work, and arrive early enough to spend a little time in prayer together before sending young Ricky off to school.
Now, Ricky’s youth pastor had been teaching about “boy-girl relationships” one week. “I know you guys are pretty young and I hope you’re not thinking about getting married soon. But, if I were you, I would start praying for your future wife, even today.”
So that next morning, when they pulled up in front of Lincoln Middle School and his dad asked him if there’s anything he’d like to pray about, Ricky suggested they pray for his future wife.
And, two days later, Ricky met his future wife.
Ricky knew right away that “this was it”. With no job, money, or car, the two “dated” as much as two middle schoolers could back then. With the exception of a short time in high school, they have been eachother’s best friend, partner in life, and now spouse for life… and Ricky attributes all of it to that morning prayer with his dad.
It’s also due to the constant prayer that Ricky, his parents, and his now-wife, that the two of them have been able to maintain a God-honoring relationship, even down to the fact that they dated for nine years before the first time the two of them had sex – ON THEIR WEDDING NIGHT.
All this, despite growing up with a distorted perspective on what love looked like, how to treat women, or what role God could play in a marriage. In fact, when it came to sex, Ricky is the first to admit that he was terrified of it for a long time (just like so many other guys – though they rarely have the courage to acknowledge it).
That being said, Ricky looks back on his life without a single regret. While many guys think that the more “practice” they can get before getting married, the better at sex they will be, Ricky knows this is nothing but a giant lie.
Ricky professes that the greatest gift that he gave to his wife on their wedding day was his ability to say, “You are the only woman that I have ever been with!”
All thanks to his dad’s decision to reclaim his role as father-figure and role model, leading to the decisions Ricky made when he met, started dating, and married his wife.