I spent a lot of time trying to please my Dad by being a straight “A” student and playing college golf. But hard as I’d try, it was never enough.
I grew up in a time where childrearing was left to women, and men rarely showed any emotion. It was a sign of weakness for a man to be vulnerable enough to love someone.
I’ve already had some interesting discussions and emails from readers, but this one was most important from a Dad who has purchased a copy for his daughter: “I didn’t realize how much pressure I’d put on her to get top grades in high school and college and then for her to be the perfect mother. I was judgmental when she filed for a divorce and now I realized how much my opinion hurt her. My job as her father isn’t to judge her, but to love her. Nothing else is important except that she is a child of God and deserves to be loved.”
When I was very small, I’d reach up my hands and expect my Dad to pick me up and love me. I was too young to have done anything of significance, so I knew that Dad loved me just because I was me. Somehow, as I got older, our relationship changed and I felt like I had to earn his love.
To Fathers: Call you daughter today and tell her how much you love her and are proud of her. Not because of what she has accomplished, but just because she is. Don’t let her try to earn your love, give it to her freely. You may have to call many times before she believes you, but don’t give up until the message gets through. Bend down and pick her up with her outstretched hands.
To Daughters: Wipe away any hurt that you have felt in the past and accept your Dad’s love.
My Dad has already passed away and I never heard “I love you” while he was alive. But in 2012, I finally heard Dad say, “I love you. You are my daughter in whom I am well pleased.” I believe that the people who have gone before us are saints who care for us, and that people can change after they go to heaven. It is there that all relationships are healed.
As daughters, we need to feel God’s unearned love from our earthly Dad.
(click below for MP3 file)