Sunday just gone, Fathers Day arrived again. As one who doesn't abide much by commercial motivations, I felt the slight & familiar anxiety of how I would recognise my father (without a gift). He’s alive. He’s had great impact on me. We all know the collective mind considers it Fathers Day.
So I realised I could do something that works for me, while offering him recognition, attention and love.
My love language trends toward acts of service and words of affirmation. So I worked to my strengths.
I caught a train 2 hours south early on a Sunday morning. I knocked on the door, was greeted by my dad, and we sat down to hang out.
And I said this: “Dad, it’s Fathers Day. So I come with my pure presence. And two questions.
The questions are:
(1) What is one highlight for you from being a father? And
(2) What is one great challenge for you by being a father?”.
Classically, my dad's responses were eccentric and witty. We then went on to have a meaningful conversation about his experiences as a father.
He acknowledged where his influences as a parent had come from.
He acknowledged the surrender in accepting one can’t control their children, who are autonomous beings.
He acknowledged the great joy of seeing his children’s intellect grow: from the baby state to the savvy women we are today.
All through this I listened and absorbed (and did a little sharing on what I would feel like as a father, too). Half an hour later, my mum arrived home from yoga & we went into family mode.
I realised I had gained so much from enquiring into my dads experience as a father. I learned about his influences and challenges. I gained perspective on how he approached raising my sister and I. I was reminded of the care & consideration given to me as I grew up.
I got a lot out of that conversation.
And it helped me realise that following my truth in offering my gifts of service and words were a valuable contribution to our relationship. And they gave back to me.
Authenticity goes a long way in this modern world. Work to your strengths and let them draw out the strengths in others.
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