I’m at the age where attending funerals is becoming more commonplace. And truly, there’s nothing like an end of life celebration to bring everything into perspective.
Awhile back I attended a funeral for a dear friend’s husband. There was hardly a dry eye in the place as one of her sons shared story after story about what his dad had meant to him. While choking back tears, he invited us all to dig deeper as he said, “I think everyone in here could say, ‘I want more of my dad.’”
His words hung in the air. I was profoundly touched by his statement, so much so that I grabbed a pen and quickly wrote down his words so that I’d be sure to remember them. He ended by saying that he was one of the lucky ones to have had an invested dad.
I agree with him completely.
As I reflect back on the years of interacting with girls and young women, a general consistent theme I hear from them can be simply stated as this: “I want more of my dad.”
Stated otherwise, I’ve never heard even one of them say that she had “too much”of her dad—too much time, too much attention, too much love, too much affirmation, too much laughter, too much talking, too much interacting, too much connecting,too much validating, too much vacationing, too much volunteering together…you get the point.
And if that story isn’t enough to touch the deepest places inside you, here’s another.
A couple of years ago I had the privilege of hearing Eva Schloss speak at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She is the stepsister of Anne Frank, and along with her brother and parents, they were taken as prisoners to the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau during World War II.
I was deeply moved by one particular story that she shared of miraculously reconnecting with her father after he had been granted permission to come and find her. Since they were in two adjacent camps, he had no idea that she was severely depressed, had been crying much of the time, and had just resigned herself to death. Yet upon seeing him she said that she felt revived.
In her own words, Eva describes their reunion:
“His eyes were full of an immense love for me.I threw myself into his arms and felt his warmth and strength flow into me and pull me back to life.I sobbed uncontrollably while he held me close to him as if he would never let me go. He must have felt as happy as I did, to have his little daughter in his arms once more.
He told me to be brave and not to give up…We exchanged looks of such yearning and love that I still see his face like this in my dreams.”
Eva and her mother barely made it out of the war alive. Her brother and father did not.
Yet here she is now, at 90 years old, and it’s evident that her dad’s love is still with her—a love that carried her through severe suffering, starvation, torture, assault, resettlement, and later, re-engagement with life.
As we reflect on these stories of fathers who made forever deposits into their children’s lives, I trust they will inspire you to think long term, past the time when this current corona pandemic is over. You don’t want to look back with regret and wish you’d given more of yourself while working from home or traveling less despite the challenges that accompany an inconsistent schedule. By investing intentionally every day, your daughter will internalize your love and support just like Eva experienced with her dad that carried her through the most horrific season of her life.
Dad, I share these stories with you today in the hope that your heart will be stirred.And not just stirred to experience emotion, but stirred to action. After all, it was God who said that the hearts of fathers are what need to turn toward their children, not their heads(Malachi 4:6).
What would it look like for you to give more of your heart to your daughter today?
- Perhaps it would be asking her what she’d like to do with you for one uninterrupted hour while you take time out of workday to spend time just with her.
- Or you could invite her to join you in a work project where you teach her something new—like how to repair the car or paint a room or serve your neighbors by mowing their lawn.
- Maybe you could sit on the floor in her room while you watch funny videos online or a movie she loves while laughing together.
- Or you could write her a love letter and mail it to her so she has something to read and re-read for years to come.
All this to say, make today a day where your daughter enthusiastically and confidently shouts to you and the whole world, “I did have enough of my Dad today!”