Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Written by Tom Cole – 2016
Father’s Day is this Sunday. I have found that when I ask a man about his father that it usually stirs a strong emotional response. For some that response is incredibly positive, and regrettably for others, that response is filled with pain and anger. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, I want to encourage you to reflect on your dad during the next week—what did you learn from him, what is your favorite memory, what do you admire most about him, and what do you think he struggled with, how did he describe his relationship with his father? Engage your friends in this discussion, and your friendship will deepen, as you learn more about each other.
I was blessed to have a wonderful dad. The older I get, and the more mistakes I make, the more I realize how fortunate I really was. I had the privilege of speaking at his memorial service over eight years ago, and I chose Philippians 2:1-4 to discuss his life. He taught by example, and his actions consistently demonstrated a concern for others, putting their interests ahead of his own. He loved his family with a tender and compassionate heart. He showed up and was always available. He was a loving and faithful husband, and I never heard him raise his voice at my mom. He valued relationships, and got along with everyone. In short, he was a great man, and I really miss him.
For the men in our community who have a strained relationship with a father that is still alive, I want to encourage you to take a step toward forgiveness and reconciliation. These steps are never easy, but they are usually fruitful. I have heard great stories from men that took the initiative to engage their dads in a discussion. This morning, I watched this message about conflict resolution and relationship restoration from Rick Warren. His talk provides very practical advice on how to have difficult conversations with others, and I strongly recommend that everyone take the time to watch this message.
For those in our community that are fathers, I want you to reflect on your role to date as a father—what have you done well, where have you fallen short, what messages and values have you taught your children, what can you do to be a more impactful dad, are you on track to leave the kind of legacy that you want to leave? One of our guys sent me the following quote today: “Inheritance is what we leave FOR others—legacy is what we leave IN others.” Talk to a friend this week about some things you want to do differently in the next year as a dad. We have tremendous impact in our roles as dads—let’s make sure we are all focused on maximizing the positive impact we can have on our children by saying and doing the right things, and making sure that they know that they are loved and that we are proud of them.
One thing I have experienced as a dad is a greater appreciation of the love of our Heavenly Father. While my three children are all unique, and at times they make better decisions than others (like me), my love for them, and my desire for them to find happiness, is relatively constant, regardless of the circumstances. I hurt when they hurt. I rejoice when they rejoice. I hope you find comfort this Father’s Day in knowing that our Heavenly Father adores you, and can fill the void from any shortfall created by earthly fathers.
I want to encourage you to make Father’s Day extra special for the Dad’s in your life. Write a note or have a special conversation to your dad that will draw you closer to him. Plan some one on one time together where possible. Reach out to others in our community and share your stories.
– Tom Cole