There are fathers who will get no phone call tomorrow. No hug from their son or daughter. They will sit in the house, probably watching TV and gulping down beer. It will be like last year’s Father’s Day: lonely and sad.
For some of those fathers, it will not be their fault. Their child is mad at them for whatever reason. Perhaps dad didn’t loan them money when requested, or some other reason. Nevertheless, dad will sit and sulk tomorrow. Millions of dads will have no call or company.
However, for some of those dads – millions of them actually – dad will simply be reaping what he sowed. He failed to do some of those things that could have made tomorrow a bright and special day.
In my 35-years as a cop, and 45 in the ministry, I made contact with thousands and thousands of dads. Time and time again I stood in living rooms at a domestic disturbance, or out in the yard trying to counsel a troubled dad.
After a “gazillion” conversations with dads, sons, and daughters, here is what I noticed:
1- LACK OF AFFECTION. I never quite understood this one. But time after time I dealt with dads who simply could not bring themselves to hug or even shake the hand of their child. I once read about a study conducted by a major university. Their research revealed that children need about “8 to 15 meaningful touches every day.” I constantly spoke with kids who could not remember dad ever having shook their hand or hugged their neck.
Dad, it may be that your father failed in this area and that you simply never learned how to be affectionate. Well, sir, you have a choice: you can either break out of that cold coffin you are lying in, and embrace your child, or, you can carry on as usual – and leave your child with the memory of a cold, distant father.
Dad, let me suggest, in the words of an old AT&T commercial: Reach out and touch someone.
2- NO WORDS OF APPROVAL OR ENCOURAGEMENT. Here’s another one that is conspicuously absent in today’s homes. There’s little, hardly any, affirmation. Dad fails to express his pleasure and delight in his children. Dad fails to tell the child how much he loves him or her. Dad hardly ever expresses pride in the child. In these homes you will seldom hear dad say, “Son (daughter), I am proud of you.”
I used to pastor a church. One night one of my members came to eat supper with me. He was young enough to be my son. His dad was a deacon at the church when I first accepted the call to serve as pastor.
“Pastor,” he said thorough a sorrowful voice, “my dad never tells me that he’s proud of me. And he never hugs me.”
My friend John is a very successful police officer in Arkansas. He could be a chief at just about any department in the nation. I visit him often when I go back home to Arkansas. On numerous occasions he has shared with me how disappointed he is that his dad never held him, or communicated to him that he was proud of him. There is no excuse for this.
3- NO INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR LIFE. I witnessed this often. Kids whose dad never attended their games, recitals, band performances – and the list goes on. Lack of parental involvement in the lives of their kids is an epidemic in the United States.
Dad, your kid’s games may not be as interesting as watching your favorite football team, or even as much fun as playing on your iPad; but your lack of involvement in your kid’s life is unacceptable. You will never know the pain that child feels when he looks into the stands… and does NOT see you.
I find it very interesting that before Jesus began his ministry, there were three things that God the Father told him:
- You are My Son
- I love you
- I am pleased with you
Dad – if Jesus needed to be told these things before he started his life’s calling, don’t you think it might be wise to communicate the same to your child before they head out into the world?
There is so much more I could say about this subject. Dad, you can turn things around today. TODAY. Maybe this Father’s Day could be different. Perhaps you could summon up some courage and reach out to that daughter, that son. It may feel a bit awkward at first, but, if you endure, it may reap great dividends.
I wish you the best.