The Value of Dad

A couple of mornings ago, Savannah came in for breakfast all excited about the text she'd gotten late the night before. (The kids don't take their phones to bed, so she didn't see it until morning.) It was from her dad, who was on a business trip. It said simply. "Good night. I love you. Tell Joe." (Joe doesn't have a phone.) Veronica had a similar message on her phone. They loved that Dad remembered them.

I was talking to my sister whose husband had taken the day off work to go on a field trip with his daughter. My sister reported that her 7-year-old was thrilled. Her dad was going to be the only dad and he was taking off work to go with her. She was beaming with pride.

Both scenarios reminded me of my mission. As a missionary, I only got four or five letters from my dad the entire time I was gone. But when I got them, it was huge. I was so glad he'd taken time to write them.

These reactions to gestures from dad are interesting to me. I text my kids regularly that I love them, or have a good day, or good luck on your test. I (and my sister) have gone on many field trips with our kids, and while they're really glad we're there, it doesn't pack the same punch. I got a letter from my mom every two or three days on my mission, and while I loved them and was grateful for them, those few letters from dad seemed more monumental.

At first glance, I'm tempted to put on my mom the martyr hat and mope around feeling taken for granted, unappreciated, and unloved.

But is that the case? I don't think so.

Of course I love it when my kids say thank you for something I've done, or when I get a text back that tells me they love me too, but if I'm being honest, I'm glad my kids can take me for granted. I want them to be able to count on me and know that I've got their back and I'm there whenever they need me. I want them to be able to expect all the little gestures and the big gestures.

This isn't to say that our fathers' love is in question and so it means more when we get these reassurances. My kids know their dad loves them all the time. I'm sure my niece knows her dad loves her all the time. I never had a question about my own dad's love for me.

Maybe dads get more credit for these efforts because they don't come as naturally or easily to men. I don't know for sure. But one thing I'm sure of--I want my kids to know my love and support is so constant and unwavering that they don't even need to think about it. It's like their air.

I also want them to recognize and love the efforts made by their dad and it's okay with me if those are the ones that get the most recognition.


Tawnie J said...

Sweet post. I couldn't ask for a better dad for my kids. I am very grateful. I don't get to see or talk to my dad often but I have good memories of him. I also love that I have the new dad I inherited when I got married. I've appreciated so much the 'father figure' he has been in my life. There are a lot of good dads in this family. I admire them all.

Leslie said...

dads are important.

Alison said...

I must say that I have the most amazing dad. He never seemed to have a hard time saying "I love you" to any of his 4 kids. I never realized how different that was until I was in high school and a friend of mine was at my house for dinner. When my dad got home, he asked me how my day was, gave me a hug. Later, my friend told me that her dad never asked her how her day was...and that I should appreciate that he cared so much. Ever since then, I have recognized just how luck I am to have my dad as not only my dad but also my cheerleader and friend. Is it any suprise that he is also the best papa ever? NO!!
My sweet husband didn't grow up feeling that same love from his father. I can see how it has effected his ability to say "i love you" to our kids. It happens now and again, and they do love every time it happens. But it isn't the daily occurrence that I enjoyed as a kid. I know that my kids don't doubt that their dad loves them, but it sure is nice to hear those three words...

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous picture of Dad and kids. You can see the love between them.
good message. I miss my Dad and his
smiles and his strength.LMH