Where are you in your relationship with your father? Surely some of you reading today don't want to think about your dad because there's too much pain there. Maybe you're thinking, What good would it do? Others have a good relationship with dad, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
I remember when I first became aware of my out-of-control father-anger. One frigid winter morning when I was 15, my mother woke me to go with her to the welfare office on Chicago’s West Side. She’d received a notice that her check was being held due to insufficient information. My mother was mumbling under her breath that all they wanted to know is where my father was, and that she had answered that question many times before. Heck, I was wondering myself where he was. If he had been there, I wouldn’t have been freezing to death on that bus.
Tomorrow I'll think fondly of Dad. Which is odd, because I hated him when he was alive.
On Father's Day you may get another "interesting" tie, the latest golf gadget or a pair of wild boxer shorts. And then your kids may do something that really makes you feel like a king. Soak it all in, because you deserve it and it's good for your children to honor you.
But as you're celebrating, don't forget that you're also a son, and it's good for you to honor your father or father figure.
A growing number of researchers and professionals recognize the importance of family history as they seek to better understand human behavior. When I speak to groups of dads, I often bring up generational family issues to try to help men gain a better perspective on their own challenges. I ask a series of questions to bring these issues to the surface.
For the record: You don’t have to plow up your corn and build a baseball field to reconcile with your father.
The climactic scene of the movie Field of Dreams offers a powerful portrayal of reconciliation between father and son. With each toss of the baseball and dusty pop into the leather glove, we know that Ray Kinsella and his father are healing past hurts and building a new relationship.
What’s standing between you and forgiveness? Recent scholarly research confirms what many already know—that forgiving others is a valuable gift for ourselves. Research shows that when we forgive, we have less stress, anger, and other psychosomatic symptoms like headaches, upset stomachs, and so on.
On the day David's son turned twenty-two, David was uneasy and distracted. You see, he was twenty-two when his own father died. Now all those emotions were coming back, along with a sense that he was in uncharted waters. He later told me, "I suddenly realized that I no longer knew how to father. I didn't have a model for fathering a 22-year-old son."
My Losing Season is a book by Pat Conroy revealing the true story behind his novel, The Great Santini, which was made into a film in 1980, starring Robert Duval. That movie has often been used as an example of how abusive fathering can forever mark a family. In the story, a marine officer repeatedly beats and ridicules his son, and ultimately commits suicide.
In their book, When Your Father Dies, Dave Veerman and Bruce Barton map out the behind-the-scenes processing that a man experiences when his father dies. Neither author fully grasped the pain and anguish associated with “father loss” until their dads passed on.