Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Three Cheers for Dad

About 15 to 20 of us have been meeting on Wednesday morning at 5:30 A.M. for a special men's class. It's call the Men's Fraternity and the subject is "The Quest For Authentic Manhood". It has really been interesting and thought provoking. The DVD teacher is Robert Lewis, a minister and author out of Little Rock, and he has some quality material that every man needs to hear - especially young fathers. He has been sharing some challenging material lately about father and son relationships, mostly from the angle of how adult men carry around a lot of baggage, wounds, and bad habits from our fathers. Not everyone - since many did have great dads, but a lot of us didn't - or maybe had no dad around at all. He's called for a lot of soul-searching and for men to work through any of the things that hinder us from being great dads and husbands. At my age, with grown kids, and having worked through all my baggage many many years ago, I truly don't feel any sense of "being wounded" or cheated or being the victim of a poor role model. God used my experiences to mold me into the person I am today and it took both the good and the bad. I made a conscious decision about what kind of dad I was going to be after seeing some pretty amazing dad's in action. I might not have made the same decisions if I'd had a bad role model around to copy when I was a kid.
Most of my reflection in the class has to do with what kind of dad I WAS not what kind of dad I missed out on. Dr. Lewis has been strongly making the point that there are three essential things that every child needs to hear from their dad. 1) I love you; 2) I'm proud of you; and 3) You're good at... (some strength or affirmation). I love tight - three point lessons, but this is one I learned before our first child was born. Our children heard all three of these often from both of us, and the truth is, we've never stopped saying it - we've just added grand children to the mix.
So maybe, when my three adult kids sit in a class some day and are challenged to confront their "Father Wounds" - they'll feel free to reflect on something else, unless you count making them listen to "Oldies" music all the time as psychological abuse.
If you haven't heard of those three "essentials" for every child to hear from their dad, jot them down somewhere and use them - and share them.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

And now it's OUR turn to say, "I love you", "I'm proud of you", and "You're good at..." to our own kids! Believe me, I know how blessed I am to have great parents.

Frankly, I think YOU should be the one teaching on the video! I feel certain you're much better-looking!