This month we celebrate Dad. Maybe your dad is absent from your life and you are blessed to have someone who is a father figure, such as a stepfather or uncle or family friend. No matter what father-figure has been in your life, dads play a critical role in shaping who we are and Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate all the dads out there!
Now when I was growing up, for me anyway, Mother’s Day was a huge deal. There were flowers, cards, special dinners, etc. Father’s Day wasn’t quite as big a holiday. That doesn’t mean, however, that fathers don’t have just as an impactful influence on our lives.
There are some pretty staggering statistics about the absence of dads in U.S. families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 out of 3 children (more than 20 million), live without their biological father in the home. As a practitioner, I’ve seen the father factor be very impactful for many patients.
I’ve written about popsicle memories as they relate to relationships with your mother. Popsicle memories are just as impactful with fathers as they are mothers. Maybe Dad didn’t do anything that “wrong,” but just like with Mom you probably have some negative feelings or thoughts related to Dad. Whether you know where they come from or not is not the litmus test, it’s the fact that they are there. If you feel them, they are real somewhere in you. Pray about them, address them and fix them!
Now on to another stumbling block. It’s common to make excuses when we don’t want to do something that is potentially uncomfortable. So it’s easy to cop out and say, “well I know what dad is going to say” and that’s preventing you from approaching him. That’s no excuse! This applies to all relationships, and not just with your dad -- how he responds, or anyone you approach about an issue, has no bearing on your healing.
The issue will resolve in you if you do everything you can do in love. You’ll get the healing you need from this issue by doing everything in love. How the other person responds, whether positively or negatively, has no bearing on your healing. Your job isn’t to judge. Your job is to love.
Now maybe you’ve been fortunate to have your dad present both physically and emotionally throughout your life. You might be thinking, “I’ve got a great relationship with my dad, Alex, I don’t have any issues with him at all!” That’s great. Sometimes not so obvious issues, however, can have an impact.
Take a recent client situation, for example. We started working on her relationship with her mom but couldn’t get past it. On the surface it appeared that all her problems were with her mom, a physically and emotionally abusive woman. But as we dug deeper we realized that although she had a good relationship with her dad she wasn’t able to heal completely because she did have an issue with him. It ultimately boiled down to not what he did, but what he didn’t do. My client was holding on to hurt and anger because her dad hadn’t protected her from her mom.
I call situations like these silent relationship killers. You can’t quite put your finger on it because everything on the surface seems fine, but there is something there.
Here’s the deal. We want things to make sense -- but often they don’t. So this Father’s Day, think about the relationship with your dad or father figure in your life and if anything negative crops up, even something that seems inconsequential, approach them in love to begin the healing process.