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Father's Day

Father’s Day: Sharing Pleasant Moments

Father’s Day can be difficult for some. Recently I decided to take a risk in our 50’s plus social group from church. There were only twelve of us. Some I knew well while others were new to me. How do we prepare for Father’s Day and focus on sharing  pleasant moments?

I didn’t know if all the men in the room were dads. But we all had dads. I asked: What are your memorable dad moments? Oh no, I thought. Some may not have pleasant memories of their dads. Or, being a dad right now may be a painful thing. I wanted to honor them. Not remind them of difficulties.

Pleasant memories open up special places in our hearts. Click To Tweet

As each person shared, it seemed we all opened up special places in our hearts. Those who are dads answered from their experiences of fathering children. Those who weren’t dads answered from memories of their dad.

Pleasant Moments from Fathers

Here’s what the fathers in the group said:

With a twinkle in his eyes, Sid said, “It was the moment she was born.”

Dave said, “The memory that tugs at my heart was the day I sent each child off to their first day of kindergarten.”

William said, “It would have been easier to tell my four-year-old son not to touch the stereo equipment. Instead I showed him how to use it and press the right buttons. That was a challenge because it was before the technology of remote controls.”

Tony said, “I’ve always had a great relationship with my daughter. And I’ve not held back from giving her clear expectations and boundaries.” And he gave more details about what to do and not to do on her first date with a boy.

Mark said, “I’ve never been a father. But when I volunteered my time to read to elementary school children, it was like a father spirit opened up in me.” Mark shared more about his love of reading to children. He’s written a couple of children’s books. He loves being in the presence of young children.

Pleasant Memories of Fathers

Jean said with a little girl smile on her face, “I remember when my dad came home from work. I would run to him. He swept me up in his arms.”

“My dad had so much patience. He ran along side my bike while I learned how to ride.” Karen said.

“I followed my dad around the yard,” Jenny said. “One of his friends told him to enjoy it now because it wouldn’t last. He appreciated hanging out with me.”

“My dad drove the boat while I water skied,” said John. “He liked to joke around with me.”

Joe shared that his dad knelt down by his bedside each night to pray with him.

Finally, my friend Karen said, “What are your pleasant dad memories, Judy?”

“Well, my dad died when I was a small child,” I said. “And I do have memories of him teaching me how to ride my bike.” I have few memories about my dad. He died a young man of 28 years within six weeks of his diagnosis of cancer. I’ve learned more from family members about my dad. Here’s what they’ve said as we shared old family photos.

  • Yes, that’s how I remember Bill – always smiling, laughing, light-hearted.
  • Judy, now I know where you get your smile.
  • He was my favorite brother who took time to understand me.
Old family photos can help resurrect pleasant memories. Click To Tweet

Beyond our own Fathers

Beyond our own dads, I want to honor others. I think pleasant thoughts of my children’s dad, and the fathers of my grandchildren. I’m proud of my youngest son who faithfully reads to my youngest grand daughter each night.

I think of my dad substitutes over the years.

  • Grandfather whom I cried bucket-loads of tears when he passed away at 94.
  • Stepdad, Bob who has taken that dad role in my life as an adult.
  • Father-in-law who was Papa to my four children.
  • Uncle Ken who’s been the “icon” dad in my life, although I’ve not told him so. His words as the foreword of my e-book were a gift from God to me. 

I’m glad I asked the question, What are your memorable dad moments? I came away appreciating the fathers represented in our 50’s social group.

What pleasant father memories do you have?

 

Father's Day

Father’s Day–5 Things Dad Should Know

I cried when I read the words my uncle Ken recently wrote as the foreword to my soon to be published e-book, Relationship Dignity Manifesto. It seemed the message became deeper as I read his account of my dad who died at the young age of 28. Many Father’s Days have come and gone since my early childhood grief. I dedicate this post in memory of William C. Welch, my dad.

Baby Boomers Remember

Many of us Baby Boomers can still sing the words to Harry Chapin’s song, The Cats in the Cradle. A Nissan commercial debuted during Super Bowl in 2015 combined the 1974 classic with a series of short video images resurrecting deep emotions for those of us tuned in.

Attention grabbing images show the joyful birth of a newborn son growing through stages of childhood and adolescence. Moody teenager, absent dad, worried mom, and dad’s accident on the racetrack fit the lyrics. The little boy is left wondering when his dad is coming home. Dad kept promising later.

All ends well in ninety seconds with the connection of a loving dad and understanding son smiling at each other driving off in a new Nissan.

The messages portrayed are: Life is valuable. Relationships are resilient. Teenagers understand. New Nissans satisfy and are safe. Yes, we can connect with those messages. . . or can we?

Generational Patterns

Chapin’s lyrics express regret of an older dad who missed out on the seasons of his young son’s life. Business trips and career-building were stronger messages than the ten year-old’s voice, who thanked his dad for the ball and asked him to play. Dad responded again, with another excuse. He had other things to do.

Dads who parent well, take the time to tune into the lives and emotions of their sons and daughters. They are able to put their smaller agendas aside. They are able to see a larger perspective. They are not only raising small children and moody teenagers; they are raising future husbands and wives; dads and moms.

Five things every dad needs to know.

Here are factors that give perspective for wise fathering.

1. Know your own history well. Admit and grieve your childhood gaps.

Take time to remember and make sense of your past. Be courageous to face the loss and pain of childhood. Unclaimed resentment, anger, and bitterness may have settled in your soul like a clogged up drain. Feel what needs to be felt. Forgive what needs to be forgiven. Move past the residue of the past. Put it in it’s proper meaning and place.

2. Be aware of generational patterns in your family tree.

Rather than criticizing extended family members, take time to hear their stories. Examine the positive and negative traits passed down from your relatives. Be willing to own both your strengths and weaknesses. Be intentional about growing your character beyond what was passed onto you

3. Look for dads whose parenting you admire. 

We find what we look for. Be intentional about looking for role models; those who have raised their sons and daughters well. Look for those who have close connection and understanding with their teenagers or adult children. Spend time with these dads. Ask questions. Be vulnerable with them.

4. Respect the opinions of your children’s mother.

Keep in mind that mothers know and feel connections with their children. Many are natural at tuning into their needs. Talk through differences. Partner with your children’s mother. Seek outside counseling rather than settle into chronic disagreements. Protect your children from the insecurity of troubled parenting.

5. Respect the otherness of your children.

Children are are separate people, worthy of love, respect, and belonging. They are not objects to be controlled. They are not little versions of their parents. Tune into their hearts and their needs.

I thank Nissan for getting our attention. Perhaps they’ve sold many cars through their commercial. They have sold me on the opportunity to encourage dads to parent their sons and daughters well.

Questions to ponder

How aware are you of your personal history?

What generational traits have been passed down to you?

Who are your role models?

How has this post touched you?