Like Father–Like Us?

With Father’s Day just passed, it’s interesting to recognize how people view it.

I used to ask Mom if she had gotten Dad a gift to honor his day. Her response, “No, he’s not my father.”

I have a good friend whose dad is unresponsive and indifferent. Celebrating him makes no sense because he doesn’t want anything from them nor does he expect to be remembered.

Another friend lost her father when she was young; Father’s Day was a reminder of what she would never have.

I’ve known people with deep father wounds who have been treated poorly or deeply hurt by the one they called dad. The idea of “father” triggers pain, fear, and even resentment that bubbles to the surface unannounced.

I grew up with a dad who was intentional about knowing us, who was interested in what the four of us kids did, how we felt, and what we cared about. He didn’t judge us when we made mistakes; he wouldn’t condone poor choices, but it didn’t change our relationship with him.

It was my understanding that all fathers loved their children like that.

Innocence cannot last long in this world. As I grew up, I had friends who complained of how their fathers were never around, how they didn’t care about what they did, or how they had unreal expectations of their achievements. Some dads were just mean.

We all need stellar examples to follow. People whose character we value enough to want to imitate them. Making mistakes comes naturally, but having someone come alongside to answer questions and brush us off when we fall is important.

When we began having kids, John and I both wanted to be parents that loved well enough to let our kids be who they wanted to be and yet challenged them to be the best they could be. To learn to respect the individuality of each of our children and help them learn to respect the uniqueness of others.

We failed often. Apologizing for our mistakes and misunderstandings became our most used phrases. But what I always appreciated about John was his calm and consistently loving demeanor with each of our six.

He loved well.

I look now at my son and five sons-in-laws and am amazed at the love and compassion they show their families.

The young ones want to be just like their dads.

What would cause someone to want to imitate anyone else?

Love. Knowing you’re seen and valued. Watching lives that reflect kindness, care, unselfish compassion.

The one Father who freely gives that to all of us is God. He doesn’t turn His back on us when we fail, or become so frustrated with our actions that He would walk away. As a Father, His love is permanent and abundant. He has shown us what living life well looks like in His Son, Jesus.

We all need fathers. Often earthly fathers hurt or degrade us, ignore or abuse us, ridicule or shame us.

But God.

He’s a Father who celebrates us daily, who doesn’t wait for us to be good enough to pour out lavish love on us. He longs for time with us.

That’s a relationship worth celebrating.

2 responses to “Like Father–Like Us?”

  1. Well spoken, Dayle. I did not have a father like this and I have to intentionally believe God is not like him.


    1. And there’s the challenge–believing He is and does all He says He is and will do. But faith is something He walks us through. I’m excited for your ongoing journey–you and Mike know what it means to parent well. That’s a gift, my friend.


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