A couple of weeks ago, my kids and I were cleaning up after dinner. My son was home from college and commented on the college apartment cleaning checks that he had to endure. He explained to us how he nervously prepared for the very first check. He said he worked hard. Then, the day of the inspection came.
He told us “the inspector” commented on how clean his apartment was. They were quite impressed and said to him, “You do not have to clean it this well.” Then, he shared his reply:
“Oh, I just did it the way my dad taught me!”
Now, those of you who are fathers will completely get the impact of a comment like this on a father! But, wait, there is more…
The conversation continued and my daughter talked about her catering class at school. She said when they clean up, the other students are kind of amazed and even tease her a bit. The teachers expressed their appreciation and she also replied with the same sentiment.
But hold on! There is one more…
Just two nights ago, my son and I were visiting just before retiring for the night. He said priceless words that I will never forget. Not just because they are rare, but because they mean so much. He said to me,
“Thank you for working so hard for us. You are a good dad. I love you!”
I wish I could keep going. I wish every father could have a treasure vault of comments and praise like this. These are things that I will never forget! They are rare and precious!
Why is it such a rare thing for a father to get praise? I know it is not just me because I follow a wide variety of dad blogs, websites, and more. This is a common concern of fathers. It has been so for quite some time.
I do not pretend to have all of the answers in this regard. However, there is one thing I am sure contributes to this. It is the so-called playful bantering that society does to men in general and fathers in particular.
As I have written in a previous post, this negative slant on men and fathers is of no small consequence. We should be more concerned about how men are viewed, praised, and honored in our world. (Lifting Men)
Almost every day on social media, on TV, and in movies, we see a type-casting approach to the handling of fathers. Father is often the bumbling idiot, the insensitive one, or the one who cannot ever get things right. He is portrayed as the Joker (this is probably true), but always incompetent. On social media sites, he is described as the wife’s additional child.
Father is rarely presented as a positive, sensitive, hard-working, devoted man. Always the slacker, dead-beat.
I challenge you to think of one show or movie that portrays a strong and confident dad! Did you think of one? How long did it take?
Men deserve to be praised and honored in their role as a father. The late and honorable father Rev. Billy Graham said,
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.
Fathers need to be–deserve to be–noticed! Fathers need to be–deserve to be–praised! Fathers need to be–deserve to be–sung and seen! There is so much more we need to do here!
The purpose of this article is not to introduce you to the statistics about the importance of fathers. A simple google search can produce millions of hits on the critical role of a father in the life of his children and on the world.
My purpose is to wake all of us a bit.
You all have a father. He is surely not perfect. He has surely made mistakes and done some dumb things. However, in most cases, he has been someone who has worked more than you can possibly ever know for you. He has shown by his work ethic and example what a good man can do. He may do it differently (and should!) than mother, but he is nonetheless important. Fathers are crucial! They need to know it! We need to say it!
Now some of you may have fathers who abused, abandoned, or neglected you. I know this is a real and painful thing. I understand this pain personally and professionally. Yet, I am writing this article. Abuse and such at the hands of a father is terrible in its consequences and impact. So, how can I write this article? Because this gives us even more reason to do all we can to uplift and build men. This says we need to praise and honor them more!
What would happen in our homes, in communities, and in our world if men saw praise and honor not as a rare event, but something that was common? What if wives did more to recognize all the good–any good–that their husband and partner did and expressed appreciation for it? What if sweet mothers did more to teach that old ancient commandment to honor father and helped them to do it? What if every child that could make a determined resolve in their heart to make sure their dad knows he matters?
There is no end to the good that would happen in this world if men were seen, praised, values, and honored more.
So, when I receive my duct tape tie or hand-print apron this coming Sunday, I will surely be grateful. It will be fun! Then, I will go out and start the BBQ and make dinner for everyone! I will love it and it will be a great day!
In my heart, however, I will have another wish. I will be wishing that someone would notice me, remember me, and let me know that I am appreciated! I believe that this is all too often the wish of most fathers.
Let’s help fulfill that wish!
I love how the beloved father of 10 children and the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, praised and honored fathers recently. He powerfully said:
“You are among the finest, most valiant men who have ever come to the earth.” (We Can Do Better and Be Better)
Being a father has been the best thing in my life! I love being a father more than anything else in the world. I am most imperfect, but I have never–not once–ceased laboring for, praying and pleading to the heavens for, and working for my precious and dear children. I love my noble children more than anything! I love being their dad! (Please see “A Deliberate Dad”)
Happy Father’s Day!!