Saturday, June 30, 2007


My Dad carries his baseball glove in the trunk of his car. It is very old and battered. The padding has become thin with age. The fingers are short and stubby, not long and laced as in today’s gloves. Today’s gloves are made to reach above the fence and snatch a home run away from the batter. Dad’s glove was made for catch and from the trunk of his car, it was always at the ready. He tore his rotator cuff about a year ago, swinging an ax. So, I doubt that he could toss a ball anymore, but the glove still travels. The potential is there.
The research on fatherhood shows that children listen more easily to the voice of father than they do to mother. Something about the tone or quality of the voice communicates a seriousness that is easily processed by even the youngest child. The research also shows that girls who spend more time with their father are brighter in school and more successful in math and science. Fathers are designed to have a powerful impact. Think of the wisdom to be imparted or the fun to be had. Yet, on the average, fathers spend only minutes with their children each day. Father’s rarely say “I love you” to their children, especially after the child becomes school age.
Inside of each of us is the desire for a Daddy. “Daddy” is someone who will be there all the time, someone who will know what we should do in this difficult situation someone who will support us and love us. We look for him first in our own fathers and if we don’t find him there we look in one relationship after another, in search of the strength and acceptance that we need.
We formulate our idea about a supreme being based on our earthly experience with father. That is a heavy burden for any Daddy.

Sometimes on long car trips we would stop at a roadside park for a break and Dad would break out the glove. We would toss the baseball to him, chase after high flies and dive for grounders. The energy and relaxation in those brief moments was exciting. That glove represented the potential for relationship, any time and any place. He was always ready.
As we got older and moved away from home, the relationship did not change. Daddy was always there to listen and to guide.

Dad’s are more likely to act out their feelings of love than they are to say it. Something about the words causes their tongues to get stuck or twisted. When they do fall out, they often get embedded in sentences like, “you know that your mother and I, we love you, don’t you son?” If he was familiar with that concept, why would you have to ask such a stupid question? When will they fall out in simple, direct form and just say “I love you”. Daddy must have practiced in the mirror or something. It always sounded so right.

Dad’s are special. They have a big responsibility. Their voice is often the one that we carry in our heads when big decisions are to be made. Fulfilling that responsibility takes a plan. One cannot be a Daddy without planning and setting the time aside to be in relationship. Too often, men are caught up in building castles for their families or inheritances for their children, rather than in building relationship. Being a Daddy takes a vision. What is your picture? How are you doing? When you review the year, can you list the times that you connected with your children? And a year from now, what will the picture include? Do they still call you Daddy?

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