On Your Relationship With Your Father (Letter 9)

Father and teenage son standing outdoorsDear Y.B.M.:

Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”

In your adolescent years, you will probably be tempted to rebel against your father and to disrespect him. May I encourage you not to yield to that temptation because all it will bring you is trouble. Whatever the situation with your father, whether he does right or not, still honour him as your father, and you will be blessed for doing so.

Here are some ways in which you can honour your father:

1. Develop a relationship with him. It does not have to be the perfect situation. Seek your father out if you have to, and sit down and talk with him. Go out to eat together, alone. Ask him questions about his history and the path he has taken in life. You will be amazed at how much you can learn from your father, how much he can help you, and how similar you both are.

2. Listen to him. God gives fathers a certain insight into their children. Your father knows you very well, largely because he knows himself. The things that he tells you to avoid, listen to him, and avoid those things. The things that he tells you to do, listen to him, and do those things. Of course, everything your father tells you may not be good. Use discretion, and as they say, “eat the chicken and leave the bones.”

3. Respect your father. No matter what has happened in the past or what is happening now, show respect to your father. I think a very good way to do this is by the way you address him. Please do not do as some young people do today and call your father by his first name. That, to me, is highly disrespectful. There is a saying in the black community—you would get “your teeth knocked out” for calling a parent by his or her first name. It will not kill you to say ‘Yes, Sir’ and ‘No, Sir’ when he speaks to you or asks you a question.

4. Love your dad. For some this is easier said than done. I say that because many young black men have been hurt because of painful experiences regarding their dad. Here is how you can love your dad no matter what has taken place in the past—choose. Yes, you have a powerful tool and that tool is choice. First, you must choose to forgive. Second, you must choose to love your dad unconditionally. God will help you do it if you let Him.

Your relationship with your dad may not be perfect, and it probably never will be perfect because we are imperfect people, but it can be much better. YBM, if you would only do your part, God will bless you for that. Don’t worry about whether or not he is doing his part; you just do yours. God will take care of the rest.

Loving Dad,

Daniel

P.T. Power Thoughts:

Someone once said, “Most fathers try to bring up their sons to be as good a man as they meant to be.”

Jim Valvano said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.”

Someone said, “The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.”

Woodrow Wilson said, “My best training came from my father.”

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