This Father’s Day has me thinking of some things I wish I’d shared with my dad a long time ago. Perhaps you too have some things you’d like to share with your dad. It may not be too late. My dad passed away years ago so this is more of an exercise in journaling, but for you there is tomorrow.
1. “No matter how long I live, you will always be my greatest role model.”
I’ve had models for various areas of expertise come and go throughout life. Most of them have been helpful as they’ve left their mark, but at the core of all I’ve received is the deposit my dad made. He didn’t have to be the world’s best at everything. All I needed to know was that he was the greatest – period.
2. “Deep down, I want to become like you in your best traits.”
He wasn’t perfect, but his imprint will have the greatest effect on me. I want to be like him in the ways he was strong. I want him to be proud of the person I’ve become.
3. “Thanks for the sacrifices you made for me.”
I know my dad felt the strain of work many times. Perhaps he even wondered what he’d gotten himself into! But honestly what hard-working guy who is totally honest doesn’t have that thought cross his mind occasionally.
4. “Thanks for having me.”
Looking back it is clear to me there were a lot of decisions he made that led up to me being conceived and born. God orchestrated that but my dad cooperated. I’m grateful for his love for me before I was born.
5. “Thanks for working hard to provide for me.”
Forty hours plus per week takes the starch out of anyone after a while. To do that for years on end requires a lot of love. No matter where your dad appears to be spiritually on the outside, keep in mind that no man can put in years, even decades, of sacrificial work for a child or a family, and not have some glimmer of spiritual life.
6. “Thanks for being tough on me at times.”
There is a hard side to love that’s hard to see when we are young.
7. “Sorry I spent so much time being angry at you instead of listening to you.”
This is a big one for me. It took years to gain the perspective I needed to realize that my old man was pretty smart all along. Based on conversations and reading it seems that many of us have lived as angry young people while we were home. It took getting out of the house to wake us up to our limitations and our dads’ perspective and big-time wisdom.
If it is too difficult to call your dad tomorrow I’d recommend you go ahead and just tell him you love him, then do something unusual in our day – actually write him a letter by hand. It doesn’t need to belong. Share a few points – maybe lift some of the ones here. You don’t need to be original. Then see what happens. Whether he acknowledges your letter or not – many dads don’t do all that well with words – send it anyway.
If your dad is gone, write a letter anyway. You can’t send it so hold onto it for a couple of days then read it again on the third day to let it sink in. This is something sacred between you and him no one else needs to see. If the contents are something you wouldn’t mind sharing with your grandchildren file it away. If you rather not see it again, burn it. It will just be something important you expressed that was good to get out. Now move on.