A Different Lens?

Father’s Day can bring a mix of different emotions for people. Some people will celebrate the great relationship they have with their dad, while others will stand perplexed in front of the greeting card display knowing their dad doesn’t fit into a Hallmark® description. There are those who wish they had a dad and those who mourn the loss of a dad.

I scorned my father for years because I felt he sorely neglected my mom, my brother and me. Then one day, sitting at my dad’s dinner table, I decided to take a great risk based on a suggestion from my counselor. He said I should ask my dad about his own childhood and teen years. Frankly, I never cared about that because I was so focused on me and who my dad was to me.

As I listened to my dad, I could feel myself becoming very emotional. He told me things that actually made my childhood look tame. He described scenarios he faced as a teenager that helped me recognize his growth as a man. Knowing what he had dealt with, I could tell he was trying to make a difference in my life.

I viewed my father’s failures based on the image I had created in my mind of the perfect dad. Expectations that were unrealistic and unfair. When it comes to my dad, I’ve learned to take off the shades of imperfection and instead look more clearly through the eyes of mercy and forgiveness. I now view his parenting style through the lens of his childhood and not just my own.

If you are a father, work to be the best dad you can be. Learn from the mistakes your father made and be a better example for your children. As you tell your own dad, “Happy Father’s Day” do so by looking past the flaws and shades of imperfection.