By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
Let’s face it: being a dad is tough.
I know we make it look easy (or maybe not) but there is nothing easy about being a dad. My fatherhood journey includes raising two kids, one who has special needs. I know in the traditional family model dad is the rock. Mom is the glue that holds everyone together, but Dad is the rock that we lean on to hold everything up. When a dad is doing his job right, it may feel like he operates in silence, never complaining or revealing his true emotions because, after all, he is dad. He can take it. At least this is how we think it’s supposed to be.
When you peek underneath the surface, in those quiet moments when dads are all by themselves, it becomes quite evident…dads have feelings, too.
We feel the responsibility of providing for our family.
We feel the weight of protecting our household.
We carry the struggle of being who God has called us to be to our children and to be the true leaders in our home.
By the way, I don’t know what your experience with your dad was growing up, but mine wasn’t great. So I know the battle of trying not to be what I saw. And, trying to be what I always wanted. With all this in mind and as we get closer to Father’s Day, I want to share with you the top four affirmations your dad needs to hear this Father’s Day.
I will add one affirmation your dad may need to hear, but is probably the hardest one to give.
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1. I Appreciate What You Do
There is not a father in the world (or any person, for that matter) that doesn’t want to hear appreciation for doing a good job. This doesn’t mean you have a perfect father, but that you have a willing father.
If your dad is in the grind, working hard to take care of you—or if you are older now, living on your own, but this is what your dad did for you—it’s time to express your appreciation. Find a way to say thank you.
A dad who is doing what he needs to do to take care of his family is not looking for recognition, fatherhood is not that kind of job. However, when he gets it, then it makes all of the hard work worth it.
It’s amazing what a simple thank you can do. So make sure you give one to your dad this Father’s Day.
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2. I Respect Who You Are
It’s been said by many relationship experts that in a marital relationship, a man's number one need is respect. I would say the same thing is true of dads. A dad wants to be respected for who he is. Respect doesn’t come from fear, but from admiration, for the many different hats a dad must wear.
It means dad is leader of the house and lover of mom. It means dad is sometimes coach, sometimes instructor, sometimes judge...and even sometimes the defendant, guilty as charged.
Dad is sometimes top chef or bbq pitmaster. Dad may have to have tea with his daughter, play football with his son. Teach the kids how to ride their bikes. And when they get older, nervously relinquish the keys to the car and—God forbid—teach them how to drive. All in all, dad wears many hats. It who he is.
By the way, if you are in a single-parent household and your dad does not live in your home, he still needs to be respected for who he is. Know that he is doing the best he can to help you become the best you can be.
Take a moment this Father’s Day to let your dad know that you respect who he is and love him, just the way he is, mistakes and all.
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3. Your Presence Means the World to Me
In my line of work, I have the privilege of traveling quite a bit. As wonderful as it is to travel, and as much as I enjoy what I do, there is nothing like coming home. One of the things I look forward to is the excitement my kids have when daddy comes home. They aren’t interested in anything else but that I’m back.
It’s a simple reminder to me that my presence matters. In those moments, my kids are letting me know my presence means the world to them.
I want to speak to all the children out there whose fathers are still alive. When was the last time you just wanted to be with your dad? You didn’t want to be with him because he was going to give you something but because you just wanted to be in his presence.
As I mentioned earlier, dads have feelings, too. We need to know that you want to be around us. We need to know that our presence in your life means more to you than anything we could ever give you.
Yes, we love to shower you with things when we are able, but oh the joy we get when you want to be around us, just because. I understand the subject of fathers can be difficult for some, especially if you didn’t have a great experience. If you did, then you owe it to your dad to make sure you let him know how much his presence means to you.
Trust me, he will greatly appreciate it.
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4. You Are Making a Difference
One of the struggles of parenting is worrying if you did enough. Did you pray enough for your children? Did you teach them well enough? Did you lead them effectively? Did you set the right example? Did you do enough to help them to turn out right?
The underlying question is: did you make a difference in their life?
As I watch my kids grow up, way too fast I might add, these questions have greater and greater meaning to me. As a father, I want to know I am making a difference in the life of my children. The reality is you are making a difference, it’s just a matter of the type of difference you will be making. It could be positive or unfortunately, it could be negative.
If your dad has impacted your life and has helped you become the person you are, he needs to know. Not only do we want to know, we need to know. Our validation as fathers is not in career accomplishments or successes that occur outside the home. As our children, you are our validation. If you turn out well then it can give us a measure of satisfaction that we have done our jobs properly.
If you have this type of father who has done his job well, then I would say it’s your responsibility to let him know.
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One Affirmation Some Fathers Need To Hear
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t grow up with the greatest relationship with my father. For many years I carried around anger and unforgiveness because of this.
One day while praying God reminded me of one affirmation I needed to give to my father. That affirmation was forgiveness.
He didn’t do everything right. He made a lot of mistakes. I had a right to be angry, or at least I thought I did. I didn’t realize how heavy the weight was that I was carrying around until I released it and forgave my father.
If you are dealing with a dad who wasn’t the “ideal” father, then this Father’s Day may require you to offer forgiveness. Of all the affirmations you can give...this one will be the hardest. However, if you can truly do this, with all sincerity, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, there is freedom on the other side of it.
If this is you...then give the affirmation of forgiveness to your father this year. He needs to hear it. And more importantly, you need to give it.
I want to conclude my thoughts with a simple request. If your father is still living, love him. If he has failed you, forgive him. If he is still raising you, pray for him. The job is not easy and chances are he is doing the best he can. The encouragement you give can go a long way in helping him to continue to be the dad God wants him to be.
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