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The Power of a Father's Love

By the Time children understand how their lives were influenced by their dad, they usually have kids of their own...and the difficult yet wonderful cycle of fatherhood begins again.

June 2011


Each year as we approach Father's Day, I am reminded of my dad and his ongoing influence in my life. Fathers have a way of guiding and shaping the lives of their children—whether it's welcomed or not :)  In my case, the influence turned out to be quite positive…but it didn't start out that way.

Growing Up
My father was one of those strong, silent, and hard-working types. It's not that he never said anything; in fact, he talked all the time! But the majority of our conversations centered on the family business…and not much else. He was silent on personal matters. Of course, he constantly got on my case about going to church or practicing my accordion (please don't tell anyone that I play…um, that instrument!).

But when it came to discuss important things in life—or to tell me that he loved me—well, that's just something my dad never did or said. This is not a criticism of my dad at all. It's just an observation of how things were "back then."


Nevertheless, my siblings and I knew that we were loved; I just wish my dad would have said it from time to time. Trust me; boys need to hear those three words—from both parents—just as much as girls do.


Work, Work, Work
Even though my father and I never had many heart-to-heart talks, we spent a lot of time together…primarily because of the family business. We were always working. Days, nights, weekends…you name it. It was the nature of our family's trucking and excavating business.

I know my father took a lot of pride in the business he and my grandfather built over the years. The fact that my brother and I grew up working in the family business also gave him a deep sense of satisfaction. Perhaps that was his unique way of loving us. Maybe that was his way of being the best dad he could be.

As you can imagine, I was more interested in going on my next date or hanging out with my buddies than working with my dad. I can't tell you how many times that man botched up my social plans because he was such a workaholic and didn't know when to stop. But ironically, even though I constantly dreaded my father making me work so much, it was during those years that he shaped and influenced my life the most.


His tendency to never stop was both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.


Valuable Traits
While growing up, I tended to focus on the negative aspects of my father's drive and endless ambition. But as I grew older and stepped out into the world on my own, I came to realize how valuable and important it was to possess those traits...and that's when I became extremely grateful that he had imparted them to me.

For example, thanks to my father...

  • I am an optimist and not a pessimist
  • I realize the value of hard work
  • I understand the meaning of commitment
  • I understand the importance of family, friends, and having fun
  • I know that if you do a good job, customers will call you back
  • My faith and commitment to God are solid
  • I don't expect something for nothing
  • I know the grass is not always greener on the other side
  • I can drive and fix most anything
  • I change my own motor oil
  • I (still) play the accordion...
I could go on, but you get the point.  Please understand...this list is not about me nearly as much as it is about my dad and who he was...well, except the according thing; unfortunately, that pretty much is just about me.

Now that I am a father myself, I have more respect and appreciation for my dad than ever. Whether he realized it or not, he has influenced my life in countless ways, and I would not trade my childhood experiences—as difficult as they were at times—for anything.


I'm sure you have your own unique list of things which define who and what you are—which most likely you can attribute to your father's influence. I also realize that many individuals did not have a father while growing up, so I can only hope that another family figure, role model, or perhaps God himself, provided whatever direction and guidance was needed at the time.


Say It Before It's Too Late
Remember when I said my dad was never much for small talk about personal matters? Well, here's the rest of the story....

Due to a cancerous growth which had developed in my dad's neck, he was scheduled to receive a tracheotomy in the summer of 2005. I visited him in the hospital the night before his surgery. It was late and it was just the two of us in his hospital room. We had a wonderful conversation…but this time it was all about the important, personal things—things we should have said and shared long before now.


And for the first time in 40 years, I heard my father say that he loved me and that he was proud of me.

In that instant, those three words melted away the years of frustration, resentment, and guilt which had built up between the two of us. Just like that, it was all gone.


After my father received his tracheotomy the next morning, he could no longer talk. To my knowledge, I was the last person to see him while he still possessed the ability to speak. And the last three words out of his mouth were, "I love you."


I can't begin to tell you what that meant to me. It is something I will cherish and remember as long as I live.


My dad went home to heaven a few weeks later. Yet today, almost six years later, his influence in my life is as strong as ever. I miss him dearly and think of him often…and the only way I know how to truly express my love and appreciation for him is to be the best father I can be to my own kids. So that is what I try to do…every day.


What Are You Waiting For?

This Father's Day, I encourage you to recall the positive ways that your life has been influenced by your dad or by another fatherly figure—and then thank him for it! After all, it's not easy being a father…and if your dad is anything like mine, he was simply trying to do the best he could.

If you can, pay your dad a visit and tell him that you love and appreciate him. If you've done it before, do it again! If you've never done it…then what are you waiting for? He needs to hear it, and you need to say it. Trust me; it will change both of your lives. It's a small but powerful way to honor your father and express your appreciation for all that he has done for you.


How Has Your Father Influenced You?

What do you remember most about your dad? How has he shaped or influenced your life? What are one of those phrases that he always said? I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments!

I encourage you to go to the cfaith Facebook page and leave your own personal comments about your Father. We've recently posted a thread entitled, "A TRIBUTE TO FATHERS." Go ahead and tell others what you love and appreciate about your dad. Be sure to stop back often and read all of the comments posted by others as well!


NOTE: Before you can leave a comment on Facebook, you will need to join or "Like" cfaith. Simply click the "Like" button at the top of cfaith's ministry page on Facebook!

After you leave a few comments about your dad on the cfaith Facebook page, head over to the cfaith website for more articles about fathers. Here are just a few you will find:

The Influence Of A Father
By Dean Hawk

Revealing The Father's Love
By Spencer Norkyke

A Father Worth Knowing
By Creflo A. Dollar


THANK YOU
I trust that these monthly cfaith Partner Letters are an encouragement and blessing to you. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you what the Lord has put on my heart.

Don't forget to visit the cfaith website everyday for more excellent, faith-building content. The purpose of cfaith's website is to be a ministry outreach to you and your family, so please take full advantage of the resources available at cfaith.com.

Currently, we have almost 19,000 members to our website!  However, this ministry would not be possible without your continued prayer and financial support. So please consider making a tax-deductible gift to cfaith today; it's fast, safe, and easy to do. To donate, click here.

Again, thank you for helping make this ministry possible. Together, we are reaching individuals all around the world.

Until next month,


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Jeffrey Litfin
ministry operations leader

cfaith


Author Biography

Jeff Litfin
Web site: CFAITH.com
 
Jeff Litfin is an actor, spokesperson, writer, and life-long content and communications student who strives to put his optimism to work every day.
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