Many cultures throughout history make it a priority to honor and respect parents. The 5th commandment of the Bible states as much. This is how great and just civilizations flourish. With this in mind, it is very important that we take a serious look at our own situations and where those relationships may stand. Is healing needed? Are acknowledgements of gratitude missing? Let’s start with our father. The relationship we have with our dad factors into almost every aspect of our life in ways seen and unseen. Give thought to your own relationship with your father and ask yourself if there are things you may need to say to him:
1. I Love You
When said with sincerity, these three words are the most powerful words in existence. Telling your dad that you love him comes easy for some, but for others it is nearly impossible. There is no need to go overboard, but saying it and meaning it are important. So if you love him, tell him.
2. Thank You
Parenting is tough business. A simple “thanks” goes a long way. Consider how you would feel years from now by hearing your own child giving you a heartfelt, “Thank you.” It would mean the world to you. Do the same for your dad.
3. May I Ask Why?
There are an infinite amount of reasons why the relationship between you and your father may be strained. Try to pinpoint the root issue that makes you feel the most hurt, and then ask your dad why it happened. Do not stray into each and every episode over the years, but pinpoint that one direct, root cause. He may not wish to discuss it, but be persistent. If there is no solution or result, at least you know you tried. Chances are, however, if the discussion is opened, a great deal of healing will start to flow from it.
4. I am Sorry
Part of growing up is making mistakes and we all make plenty of them. “Dad, I sure am sorry I put you through that. If I could go back in time and change it, I would.”
5. I Forgive You
Every bit as important as repentance is forgiveness. Our parents made plenty of mistakes in their journey of raising us as well. Sometimes those mistakes caused real harm. Yet, we turned out OK. Everything happens for a reason. Let your dad know he is forgiven.
6. You Make Me Proud
We all want our parents to be proud of us. Does it not stand to reason they feel the same way? A dad makes a great deal of personal sacrifices for the sake of his children. He works hard to provide the right example and do the right things. Tell him you are proud he is your father.
7. I Respect You
Especially in the teenage years, many children do not want to be seen with their parents. They see their dad in all sorts of ways, but none of them as “cool.” Only when grown do children come to respect their parents and the so-called embarrassing things they did. Let dad know you respect him and his strength to stay the course.
8. I Understand How You Felt
“One day you will have children of your own and you will understand.” Every parent has said this. Now that you are a dad yourself, give him the credit for being right and let him know that you, indeed, now know exactly how he felt.
9. Who Are We?
Learning our family heritage isn’t usually a priority as children. However, it is very important to know who we are and where we came from. Your dad may love nothing more than to tell you all about your family history. Ask him.
10. What Do You Know?
Your dad is a treasure box full of valuable knowledge and experience. He is a great resource to guide you on your own path of parenthood, either because he did it right himself or did it wrong and has learned. And he also can give you life advice. He is a deep well. Draw from him.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your father tonight and say: I love you and I am proud of you because ____.