Dads, you’ve earned respect. No doubt. You’ve worked hard, protected your family, and been a dad. Perfect? Nah. Not by a long shot. But you’ve done your share, and today’s your special day. You only get one; soak it in.
Culture cries “toxic masculinity,” but they’ve apparently never seen masculinity done right–in love. My dad earned his kids’ respect, and his voice still rings in my ears all these years later. He never outright said these words, but here are a few of his messages during our childhood:
“It’s my way.” Not “or the highway…” It’s just my way. Looking back, it helped me know that. Toxic masculinity? Heh. Not at all. It was more like having a ref at a basketball game–we kids knew the boundaries and knew the consequences when we crossed the line. And it was good.
“It’s for your good.” This was never explicitly stated. At least, not often, as far as I can remember. Yet somehow we knew we were becoming better people through Dad’s leading.
“I’ll teach you a ton.” Again, these exact words were never stated, but through who Dad was and what he showed us, we learned. All the time. It was the message of his daily life that spoke to us.
“It’s for your good.” It’s déjà vu! But the older we got, the more this one became apparent. As kids, we saw other kids screaming in Target as we walked beside our mom. As teens, we saw fellow teens who hated their parents–we wondered if we were weird for liking ours. The message clicked at different levels along the way, but it clicked. That’s what mattered.
“You’re in trouble. Deep trouble.” The deeper the offense, the deeper the trouble, but there was always trouble. We never got away with anything. Anything at all. Like, nothing. Ever. Have I made my point?
“You messed up. And I love you.” Messing up was never a relationship-ender. It was never a question of whether my stupidity made them rethink having kids. I broke my own fellowship with my parents when I messed up. It was never the other way around.
“It’s for your good.” I never doubted that my dad wanted me to be better than him. He taught all of us that you can see farther when you’re standing on someone else’s shoulders. Through trouble or through regular life, everything he did was meant to make us better people.
“Life is bigger than circumstances.” My dad’s father was a drunk who abandoned the family and then died when my dad was a teenager. My dad had no fatherly example, but, to us, that was never an issue. It never came up. Life, to Dad, was not, “I don’t know how to parent teenagers!” It was an ever-growing dependence on God to love us like he was loved by his Heavenly Father.
Dad earned respect by being a genuine man of God whose desire was to train up his kids to be disciples of Christ. Maybe he wasn’t the most expressive in words, but he sure had a lot to say in his walk. Happy Father’s Day. – Bro. Ryan