My Post Father’s Day Post

Each year as Father’s day comes around, I want to take some time to write a post about it because fatherhood is such a big deal to me.  If I’m honest though, it’s one of the hardest posts to write.  If you’re a regular reader, you know that my Dad and Mom separated when I was 10 and divorced when I was 11.  From that time to this, I’ve only spent time with my Dad once, and that was over Christmas break in the 1980’s.  The last time I heard his voice was the day my youngest daughter was born.  It will be 23 years ago this year.

While my Dad is still among the living, we don’t have any fellowship together.  I am not distant because it’s my choice.  I’m distant because it seems to be what they (he and his wife) want.

Truthfully, I really do want him to be happy, and if my presence or interaction with him and his family makes it hard for him, then I’m okay with keeping my distance.  My consoling thought is that when we both get to heaven, we will have a curse-less eternity to get things sorted out between us.  Until that day, I’m just going to love and honor him as best I can from this distance.

That being said, I try to always remember to send cards on Father’s day, his birthday and Christmas.  I don’t always remember but I try.  The reason is simple.  I want to make sure that I am doing all I can to honor him.  I might no be able to do much, but I will do all I can do.

If you read my posts, you will find that my writing is not about fixing your relationship with your Dad because I can’t really write about that with any credibility.  Instead, I focus on how to grow up and be a good, quality man, in spite of not having a Dad around.

While I speak about this issue honestly and don’t try to flower it up, I also NEVER throw my Dad under the bus so to speak.  I am honest but not derogatory.  I don’t use hateful speech when talking about him and I always try to emphasize that I love and honor him.

My experiences as a son have had a huge influence on my being a father myself.  I recognize the importance of being there and demonstrating my love for my children.  Hollywood often portrays the Dad as being foolish, childish or selfish, but a real Dad is none of those things.  Don’t get me wrong – Dad’s are usually great at horsing around with their kids, but real fatherhood is about training up your child.  It’s about learning things that are real enough and important enough to pass on to your children.  The goal of every Dad should be to make fully developed and mature sons and daughters out the the little children that God gave him.



Honor Thy Father…

As I publish this, today is Father’s Day.

If your dad is still with you and you have a strong relationship with him, today is probably a big day for you both. For your dad because his children, and maybe even his spouse are taking special occasion to show him what he means to them. For you as the child because you get to express your heart & openly appreciate the man who made such a difference in your life.

If you had a strong relationship with your dad but he’s not with you anymore, you can remember, love, miss, reflect & honor his memory today.

A lot of us, (and I mean A LOT!), may find ourselves today with a problem. We’re not sure what to do about Father’s day. Maybe your dad walked away from your life and you two don’t have any contact. Something happened that put a wall right down the middle of your relationship and now you don’t talk. What do you do with today?

Some people I know have used this as another occasion to honor mom. One person I know posted on social media “Happy Father’s Day because you had to be both. To the best Mom ever. I Love You!!”

While I have strong convictions about it, this week I just want to ask you a question.

Do you think we are “off the hook” when it comes to honoring a father who walked away?

I really want to hear what you think. I think this is worth having a conversation.


Honoring God by Honoring an Absentee Father.

When your dad has left your family behind and moved on, Father’s Day can feel a little awkward.  It’s sometimes hard to know what you should do because you may not want to do anything except maybe, well…  I’m reminded of the character Gary from the movie Parenthood (The movie starring Steve Martin, not the stupid series where everyone talks over the top of everyone else).  Gary was played by a young Joaquin Phoenix – although in the movie he’s credited as Leaf Phoenix.  Gary was about 13 and couldn’t understand why his Dad kept ignoring him and pushing him away.  Finally Gary understood that his Dad didn’t want Gary to be a part his new family.  Gary broke down and then broke into his Dad’s dentist office.  He tore the place up.  Gary did what many others have wished they could do.  Gary acted out on his deep hurt.  Most people just internalize it and let it poison them.  The hurt turns to bitterness.

I have been asked a question by some of my friends. Friends who know me pretty well. The question usually sounds like this “How can you have such a good attitude toward your Dad when he’s seemingly walked away and never looked back?”  One of my good friends who has both a son and a daughter said “As a dad, I just don’t see how a dad can walk away from his kids. I just don’t understand it at all”. My response has always been “I don’t either”.  For me personally, it’s foreign to my thinking.

When I think about myself, I think about how I try always to be a good guy. I work constantly to be a good example of what a good husband and father should be. In my life in general, my intentions are always good and I try not to do harm to anyone, ever. I try to be all the encouragement I can be. I unfortunately haven’t always been successful. I have sometimes “fleshed out” and been selfish. I have done and said things that have hurt people. I know I have. It may have been completely unintentional, or it may have been a stupid, short sightedness decision on my part that left someone else hurting, or in some cases it was intentional. I got my feelings hurt and reacted badly, saying & doing things on purpose that hurt others. It has happened. I have hurt people.

position open clearWe have a tendency to judge others by their outcome but judge ourselves by our intentions. Because of this we tend to put each other through the ringer. If I take an honest look at myself and my good intentions and I still manage to hurt people, even when I’m trying not to, then aren’t all of us are capable of hurting others?  That would include fathers, wouldn’t it?

I don’t believe for a minute that my Dad intended to hurt me or my brothers & sisters. He didn’t start his marriage off with my mom with the intention of blowing it up after a little over a decade. I am confident that he started off with boatloads of hope and a desire to build a life. He wants what we all want; to be happy. I suspect that  we were all just collateral damage in his pursuit of happiness.

As I said, I don’t believe that he intended to hurt us. That being said, I do think that he knows that he has. He doesn’t contact any of us. I’m not sure why.   I have had contact with some folks who do have contact with him though, and they say he’s a great guy. He’s well liked and influential. He’s the kind of guy that would help out someone in need. He’s a good guy. Because of that, it wouldn’t be right or honorable for me to judge him based only on my lack of experience with him.

Hugh BeaumontWe have a tendency to exalt the position of father and I don’t think that’s a mistake. I believe with all my heart that society is having many of the problems it is having primarily because of the absence of good fathers in the home. A father should be continually endeavoring to be all the father that God has created him to be. Unfortunately, we are filling these exalted positions with mere men. Mere men experience temptation, have fears, baggage, brokenness, issues, prejudices and some have an unresolved past. There was only one Ward Cleaver, and he was fiction (though I admire Hugh Beaumont quite a bit).

We have a tendency to judge others by their outcome but judge ourselves by our intentions.

Here’s what I do know.

I can’t govern myself based on how anyone does or doesn’t act toward me. I have to govern myself based on who I am. That’s really the bottom line. People have a tendency to live in a state of reaction to what others are doing. Because of this, when others aren’t particularly kind, people will retaliate or completely withdraw. People have a “You hurt me so I’m going to hurt you back” attitude without thinking that the other people are probably at least attempting to make the best decisions possible and that they may not be intentionally hurting you.

My responses to my Dad are a direct reflection, NOT of who he is, but of who I AM. If I’ve gone to God’s Word and discovered what His idea of a husband and a father is, and then I’ve conformed my life to it, then my actions should show it. If I have endeavored to be a man of honor, a man of integrity, a man of humility, a man who knows how to submit to authority, if I have become the best man I can be, then my actions should reflect only that.

Thank God that He (God) didn’t respond to us based on who we are. Instead, His actions show who He is.

Because of who He is, He loves us and gave His only begotten Son for us, all while we were yet sinners. (click here for more info).  If He can do that for us, then if we will draw near to Him and allow Him, He will build in us the character of a godly man or woman. Then we can look at a father who has not been there; a father who may have been abusive, a father who has struggled to be a father, and we can respond from what’s on the inside, Godly love and compassion.

My encouragement for you:

If your Dad is no longer with you, you can still do most of this advice.  Remember, this really comes down to you, not him and even if you have the best dad on planet Earth, you can still do this.

  • Fortify yourself. Get into God’s Word & allow God to reveal Himself to you and to build into you good, sturdy, Godly Love. This will strengthen you against hurt feelings and allow you to come into every situation from a position of strength based on God’s Love. Then only respond from that.  Remember, Honoring your Father is something you do for the rest of your life, not his.  Because honor is in the way you live. It’s a reflection of who you are more than what you do.
  • Cut him some slack. He’s a man. He’s got flaws just like you. There are no exceptions to God’s command to honor our fathers & mothers.  His behavior doesn’t let you off the hook.
  • Pray for your Dad. Get a picture of him and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Pray Colossians 1:9-11 for him every day. This is a Holy Spirit inspired prayer that Paul prayed for the Colossian church.  The reason the Holy Spirit would inspire such a prayer is because He wants to answer it.  We can have confidence that this is the will of God.  Below is this passage from the God’s Word translation. You can print it out & tape it near the picture on your mirror.  That way you’ll be reminded every day. Then continually thank God for working in your dad’s life.

Col 1:9 For this reason we have not stopped praying for you since the day we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through every kind of spiritual wisdom and insight.

Col 1:10 We ask this so that you will live the kind of lives that prove you belong to the Lord. Then you will want to please him in every way as you grow in producing every kind of good work by this knowledge about God.

Col 1:11 We ask him to strengthen you by his glorious might with all the power you need to patiently endure everything with joy.