A few months ago one of my nieces walked up to me at an Easter party. She is 6. After taking my hand and showing me around, she matter-of-factly said, “I saw my daddy at the store, and he didn’t say hi to me.” Although the emotion had left her voice, like she’d already processed some of what this meant to her and been consoled, she still thought it important that she tell me as one of the first things she said to me that day.
Heart immediately broken, I pulled her into my arms and said, “You know, once when I was about your age, my daddy saw me in the store and walked right by me too. It made me very sad.”
I proceeded to list all the people who love her, including her stepdad, as she wriggled from my arms to go finish playing. Though someone (probably multiple people) had helped her start dealing with this rejection, I know from experience that hurt will stick with her forever.
And that’s because, dads, we need you.
Dads, we need you to look at us and tell us you think we’re beautiful. You should be the first man we hear that from and the one that convinces us it’s true… and that we don’t need to let someone unworthy cheapen those words.
Dads, you should be the one checking to see if the door is locked and looking under our bed for monsters. With you, we should not only feel safe, but learn what safety is.
Dads, you should be the one providing our needs – spiritually and materially.
Dads, you should be the one teaching us our true worth. You should be the ones who proudly stand back and watch us become what you taught us to be.
Most importantly, dads, you should be the ones leading us to know the One True Father. You should be the ones pushing us to love and serve and glorify Him with our entire existence … and you should be modeling that too.
I turned out okay, despite a void that was never quite filled in my life – that was God’s grace, though. However, there are pieces of me I know would be different if I had an earthly dad – my understanding of familial roles, the way I receive love, the way I give trust; I could go on and on.
But this is my plea, and I’m sure it’s echoed by many – if you are a daddy, no matter what your situation, be there for your kids. They need you, more than you know. You’re shaping their lives by your presence, or with your absence.