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I had a conversation yesterday with a man about his son. He grew up very humbly, and is now a successful banking professional in NYC and travels, and has traveled, all over the world. This father’s face was full of pride as he told me about his boy.

I watched this week as another father watched his daughter complete her last year with a state musical organization and post videos and pictures of her on facebook, the pride in her accomplishments and growth so evident in his words and demeanor.

I posted a simple picture of some tomatoes on facebook last night. Tomatoes I had grown in my back yard, and pointed them out to my Dad. “You did good, daughter,” he replied.

They were simple words, but they meant the world. There is pride in achieving a goal, but when you have someone in your corner, to pat you on the back or brag to their friend about them, it makes the achievement that much sweeter.

My father has never failed to tell me that he was proud of me. Even now, he tells me that he’s proud of the woman I am, the woman I’m becoming. And some days, I really need that affirmation. “You did good, daughter.”

I never underestimate the power and influence a mother has on her children. And there is never a shortage of success stories about people who were raised with no father, or father figure in their life. But I have a deep appreciation for fathers, and not just because Hallmark says that on Sunday, we should celebrate them.

I married my daughter’s father when he was still a kid, I was a kid. He has had to grow up a lot. I see much in the relationship between him and my daughter that is lacking, but I know he loves her. I know he believes in her. He tells her he is proud of her.

My husband has played a father’s role in my daughter’s life from the day we became a couple. It’s taken adjustment and growing pains for both of them, but there is a bond there that gets stronger every day, even when one or both of them seem to resist it. He believes in her.

I have never underestimated the influence that a father’s belief in his children has on their lives, and how much the simple things, the smallest of affirmations can help them achieve their goals.

My father has been in a supervisory position for much of his career. Even people that don’t work for him, or aren’t his biological children respect his authority, his opinion, and who he is as a person. Our personal relationship has grown to one of mutual admiration and respect over the years, as I have become an adult, but there will never be a day when the little girl inside me doesn’t like to hear, “You did good, daughter.”

My father has seen me triumph and fail. He’s been there with a hug and a handkerchief during good and heartbreaking times. He’s spoken those precious words to me during both, “You did good, daughter.”

I don’t know that there’s anything quite so powerful as knowing someone else believes in you. Our own feelings are sometimes so dependent on other things, and there are days when it feels next to impossible to believe in ourselves. So if you have that kind of champion in your own father, as I do, be thankful. Not just on Sunday. Every day.

And if you don’t have that kind of father, or stepfather, or grandfather, or any type of father figure, know that you have a Heavenly Father that is more than willing and able to be that for you.

It is said that much of how we view God is based on our relationships and understanding of our earthly fathers. That can lead to some screwed up philosophies. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. Because our earthly fathers are flawed, we often place attributes and traits on our Heavenly Father that simply aren’t accurate. But there are similarities in the best of humanity and the best of the Divine.

My heavenly Father is my champion also. He is there, cheering me on when no one else does. He is there with comfort during the darkest hours. In both, He whispers, “You did good, daughter.”

Oh, how I need to hear and know that.

Our fathers, both human and Heavenly, can see their children’s potential. The good ones do their best to help chisel away the things that keep us from reaching it. They comfort us in our failures, encourage us in our struggles, and celebrate with us in our victories. They believe in us. He believes in me. And whatever I accomplish or don’t, at the end of the day, from my earthly father and my Heavenly Father, the words I long to hear are the same: “You did good, daughter.”

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