Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

I'm writing this letter to the fathers of my grandchildren. If you compare letters, you will find they are basically all four the same, barring a few personalizations here and there. I guess that's because I want to say the same thing to all of you.

As you are aware my daddy died when I was three years old. When all my children were small, I always figured if something happened to Alan, I would remarry. I made that decision based on a lot of important things I felt I missed out on by not having a dad in my life. Don’t get me wrong. My mom did the best she knew how but I still felt gypped by not having the influence of my dad and I didn't want my children to experience that lack. Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about that.

Today I’ve been thinking about all of you dads and want to share with you a few of my thoughts.

To this very day (and probably to my dying breath), I crave a father's pure love. To hear him say out loud the words "I love you", "I'm proud of you". To feel his hugs and pats on the back. To feel safe with the protection of a priesthood holder and listen to the direction and advice only a father can give. Words cannot express to you the depth of these cravings.

So, may I give to you some belated Father's Day challenges? You don't have to accept them or do them. I'm not going to check up on you. You can even stop reading now and throw this letter away. But at least I will have shared with you what is in my heart so you can get a small glimpse of a few things your children would be missing out on if you were not in their lives.
  1. At least once a day look each of your children in the eyes and tell them one good thing you saw them do that day and how happy you are to be their dad. If they’re familiar with your loving voice, they will seek you out when they need advice and perhaps they will even find Heavenly Father’s voice familiar.
  2. At least once a day softly touch each one of your children with a hug, a hand on their shoulder, rub your hand through their hair or caress their face. I can’t fathom the comfort of a father’s soft touch with such strong hands. Let them feel how comforting the Savior’s touch is though the power of your tender touch.
  3. At least once a day, sincerely tell each of your children you love them. The world will tear them down and beat them up. Your children need to know there is a safe place for them where they are loved. They need to know that beyond any doubt.
  4. Teach them. Show them. Then allow them the space to learn and figure things out. Space free from "I told you so" or looks of disapproval or criticizing words. Space to be their own person, make their own choices, do things their own way so they can build faith and confidence in themselves.
  5. Praise them. Praise them. Praise them! Let them go to bed at night remembering the ways they pleased you more than the mistakes they made.
These are just a few of the things I crave and wish I had memories from my dad. Your voice and
even your face may fade away in their memories but how you made them feel will live on in their hearts forever. I have no memories of my own. I remember people telling me to remember stuff but I personally don't have the memories. My mother, bless her heart, could only tell me negative things about my dad. "He would never have approved of you and your choices", "You two would never have gotten along", "He would have kicked you out", etc., etc. As an old lady, I now have to hope my daddy loves me and would be proud of the person I have become.

Leave your children a legacy of love, of approval, of optimism. Leave them memories strong
enough to help them stay on the right path or want to return if they stray.