Fathers Who Bless Their Children

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God: and that is what we are! (I John 3:1)

As I sit at my desk thinking of what I want to share with you this Father's Day, a wave of memories about my own dad washes over my mind. He was a preacher, much like many of yours. He represented a generation of clergy that was consumed with the church. I will always remember the simple lessons he taught me about preaching. He would say, "Junior, never preach more than 25 minutes. Use as few notes as possible. Give them one thought they can chew on for the rest of the week, and use some humor." He was a great preacher. I only wish I had known him better.

My father was pretty much an absentee dad. I searched for a relationship with him until the time of his death.

In a USA Today article from June 14, 2001, Neil Chethik reminisced about the time his grandfather passed away. As Neil and his dad were going through some of the grandfather's effects, Neil looked over at his dad who was crying. He had never seen his dad cry before. "I am crying not only for my father, but also for me," his dad said. "His death means I'll never hear the words I've always wanted to hear from him: that he was proud of me, proud of the family I'd raised and the life I've lived.

"So that you never have to feel this way too, I want to tell you now how proud I am of you . . ."

I drank in the column because there were so many times I had wanted to hear those very same words from my dad.

Why these somber thoughts? I don't want you to get so busy building God's kingdom and running the church and being the catalyst for deepening other men's faith that you miss the opportunity to tell your kids how special they are to you.

The simple comment "You make me proud" will reap great rewards. To put a child in your lap and give undivided attention is better than something from a toy store. To show up unannounced at a school function just to root for your child is a gift that your daughter will never forget. It is amazing what an "attaboy" or "attagirl" will do.

I know life in the pastor's home is hectic and unconventional, but that's why it requires us to be even more creative with our methods of affirmation and showing attention.

On Father's Day as we are receiving the recognition from our families, it would be a wonderful thing to turn it around and give them a gift they will cherish, but would probably never ask for. "Son, Daughter, I want you to know here is one dad who is really proud of you."

Happy Father's Day!

Article copyright © 2003, Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Dr. H.B. London is the vice president of Pastoral Ministries for Focus on the Family and the author of numerous books on and for pastors. He served as a Nazarene pastor for over 30 years in several churches in Oregon and California. He and his wife, Beverley, live primarily in Colorado Springs, Colo., and have two sons and four grandchildren.