As we come upon Father’s Day 2019, I want to be simple and somewhat straightforward about one of the most important things every father deeply desires to hear.
Most dads spend a lot of their waking time at their place of employment or fulfilling their chosen career. In those environments there is always an expectation; sometimes very clear and regularly expressed, and other times simply acknowledged and occasionally reinforced.
Most every father lives with the awareness that they will have some sort of “performance review” at least once a year, if not more often. They recognize that they are accountable to someone for the fulfillment of their responsibilities and that they are being measured day-in and day-out by their ability to fulfill those expectations.
Now, if the father happens to be in an unusual work environment where occasional expressions of affirmation, encouragement and even appreciation are expressed, they will tend to enjoy their job and learn to live with a little less stress than many other men in responsible positions.
That’s why, whenever a father comes home to his family, there are few things that move his heart more than some very sincere, straightforward and open expressed words and actions of appreciation. Even though this may not appear to be much of a profound insight, let me say quite clearly that most men with whom I interact and have gotten to know over these many years of ministry will tell you that more often than not, their home is a place of another set of expectations… not appreciation.
If the dads are in a season when the children are still at home, almost without exception those young ones are wanting dad’s attention. They deeply desire his affirmation and love and will do most anything to get some focused attention from dad from the moment he walks in the door.
It’s not at all uncommon that the hard-working mom also has some expectations that might be related to some time of relief from the duties of being with the family or perhaps running the household and its myriad of necessary investments from simple repairs to maintaining the yard to a hundred different items large and small that are just simply a part of maintaining a home. Most dads really don’t mind doing those things and understand that the responsibilities of keeping up a home and raising the children are shared responsibilities that require their attention. It comes with the territory!
However, when a dad hears words of affirmation and appreciation or little expressions of those same qualities, they have an ability to fill his emotional tank more rapidly and powerfully then what most other members of the family fully understand.
It’s not that dads need to have a steady stream of “thank you” and “well done” day-in and day-out. Rather, it’s simply the recognition that the occasional demonstration of love and appreciation for what the dad has done or is doing to provide for the family, take care of the needs of the household and perhaps most significantly, carry the spiritual weight of the care and oversight of the home cannot be overstated.
When a dad has the blessing of knowing that he’s appreciated now and then it makes him all the more willing to do whatever it takes to meet the needs and even desires of the family because he knows he’s not being graded on his performance, but rather loved and appreciated for his care and commitment.
A very simple way to check on how you’re doing in this area is to keep a little journal on what happens in the first 30 minutes when dad comes home. Take notice of what gets said and how things get expressed when a dad has gone through a long day and perhaps has had the added stress of rush hour traffic or unexpected delays to deal with. If every family could give dad 30 minutes or so just to decompress and be shown some affection and appreciation my experience tells me that the balance of those times together will likely be much more enjoyable, fun and full of the kinds of expressions that make it the best part of dad’s day.
Every dad needs to hear those words of appreciation. Don’t just make it on Father’s Day, but in some way let it become part of the vocabulary of your household and your whole family will be greatly blessed.
Perhaps this is the reason why the Bible encourages us hundreds and hundreds of times to give thanks to the Lord. It’s not that God needs it in the way that we do as human beings, but it reminds us that all the wonderful blessings we have in life come from His hand. Why not make that same expression part of the culture of your home, no matter what season you’re in!