Congratulations Fathers! Here’s to you! I’m so excited that we have a day honoring you. Today, I join in with the millions of others in our country and I honor you as well.
Thank you for your courage. You make tough decisions which I do not envy. You work hard to provide for your family. Many of you have had to stare unemployment in the face and determine not to lose your purpose, identity, motivation, and drive for life. I honor you. You go bravely where no man in your life has gone before. And bravery, in my mind, is not taking action because there is no fear in you, but taking action in spite of fear. Fathers, you are amazing. You have one of the most influential positions on this planet – regardless of race, nationality, or culture. (If you are a mother reading this, please do not feel I am overlooking your incredible role. This is just a letter to fathers today.)
Fathers, you are some of the most sought after people in our day. I don’t know that you even begin to realize how important you are. It is because of how important you are that I wanted to write this letter, to ask you a couple favors. There are many requests that could be made of fathers, but today I just want to focus on two.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”Sigmund Freud
First, I ask you to stick around. Whether you feel like you’re an amazing dad, or a terrible one – stick around. I imagine there are days when you feel like your kids would be better off without you. There are probably other days when they tell you they’d be better off without you. Those moments are lies! If you listen to your emotions in those times, you could alter your family’s history in a tragic way. Fight for their mom. Win her heart every day. Whether you have yet to marry her, are married to her, or were married to her. There are things you can do in each of those situations that will show your kids how fierce your love is for them. You can show them how you’ll never give up on them by the way you never give up on your relationship with their mom. If you’re not married to her yet, get with it! Show everyone what commitment and unconditional love looks like! If you’re married – stick with it! Show everyone what a fun, loving, and happy marriage can look like – in spite of your finances, where you live, or where you work. Show your family that they’re more important than all those things. If you’re separated from your kids’ mom, you can still protect, honor, and love her in your existing role. That will speak volumes to your kids! No matter what though, you stay. You try to be as present in their lives as you possibly can be. I don’t really know anything about psychology, but I would imagine it will be easier for kids to get over having an imperfect dad who tried and was always there, than it will be to get over the scar of you leaving.
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”Clarence Budington-Kelland
Second, I ask you to expand your embrace. There are many, many kids out there without fathers. They may still be little children or they may be in their 20’s, 30’s, and beyond. But, they need a father. I ask that you try to do little things here and there that you think might let them know that someone sees them, cares for them, and is there for them. I know this can be tough. But as I am learning in my own life, a simple text once in a while to let them know you’re thinking about them and to see how they’re doing goes a long way!
No matter how good of a dad you think you are, I want to tell you that you can do it! You ARE a great dad! That is what’s within you! Build yourself up so you can build your family up! If you tear yourself down, you’ll be doing the same thing to your family. Focus on what is good in your life and where you are making a difference. No matter where you are in your journey of fatherhood, you can do this. You can reach out, build up your children, and help them go further than either you or they dreamed. You are a wonderful man! Your children need what you have, even if you feel empty. Even when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Just be you, that’s enough.
It is my hope and prayer that you are celebrated today. I honor you and thank you for being a father.