My dad was pretty typical of the men of his generation. He was not very open about his feelings and emotions. That included the way he communicated with me. He didn’t seem to have much trouble telling me when he not pleased with something I did, but he rarely if ever told me that he was proud of something I had done. I knew he loved me, but somewhere in the back of my mind I always questioned if he liked me.
At my father’s funeral I was shocked as co-worker after co-worker shared with me that my Dad regularly talked about me at his workplace. They said he was so proud of me and loved to tell people about his daughter who worked on the radio. I really had no idea that he felt that way. But, shock turned to sadness as I contemplated the fact that he had never been and never would be able to say those things to me directly.
I’m not angry with my Dad. I understand why he was that way, his dad was even more distant from him. I believe that my father was doing the best he could with what he had. But, I still grieve the relationship that we could have had.
Dads, please don’t let this be your story. There is an ever-growing body of evidence that shows that a close relationship with ones father is a predictor of future success in life. And, I’ve spoken to many people, women in particular, who did not have a close relationship with their father and now struggle to understand their relationship with their heavenly father.
A great example of a father expressing love for his child is given in the bible when Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan River. When Jesus emerges from the water his Heavenly Father announces from heaven, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
It may sound cliché…but time is fleeting. Don’t assume that your kids know you love them and are proud of them. Take time to lavish love and praise on your children every day…starting today.