A Touch of Validation

I was really hoping to move the subject matter of my blog entries away from my personal thoughts and feelings and towards more light-hearted and/or opinionated writing (e.g. Dave Barry).  But that’s the funny thing about inspiration.  You can’t really fight it when you get a compelling feeling in your gut to express yourself.  Some people do so by painting or singing or making something special.  Me?  I write.

And so it is with a fair amount of joy that I write this entry.  I was recently given a booklet called “You Have What it Takes”.  It’s written by John Eldredge and it very succinctly sums up what every father needs to know.  The message of the 51 page booklet is simple.  Every boy longs to know, “Do I have what it takes?”  Every girl, on the other hand, longs to know, “Am I lovely?”  And it is primarily the role of the dad to answers these questions for his children.  To quote directly from the booklet:

Mother is love and tenderness and mercy.  She is a picture of the heart of God.  But identity – especially gender identity – is bestowed by the father.  A boy learns if he is a man, if he has what it takes, from his dad.  A girl learns if she is worth pursuing, if she is lovely, from her dad.

This book was very validating to me.  In many ways, I already knew this.  I knew this because of the father my dad was to me.  He always told me there is nothing I can’t do.  He always believed in me, and if you’ve read my eulogy of him you would already know this.  I also knew the importance of validating a daughter’s sense of beauty and self worth.  The funny thing is I learned most of that lesson as a result of the friendships and relationships I made with various women this past year.  I am not saying that every woman I met has ‘daddy issues’, but rather in listening to them I understand and see clearly the impact a father has on his daughter.

I wrote about this last March in an entry called ‘Second Guessing’.  And I still feel now the way I felt then.  To quote myself <boy is this weird>, “I know I am not perfect, but I think I am a great dad.  ….. Being a dad is an honor and a privilege, and as challenging as it can be, it is also incredibly rewarding.”  Reading this booklet reaffirms this for me, for I know I try very hard to tell my son he has what it takes and to tell my daughter that she is lovely.

I would be remissed if I did not take this opportunity to thank the person that gave me this book.  It was part of a gift ‘package’ that I will forever cherish.  The package included two books, the second being another John Eldregde book called “The Sacred Romance”, a Superman t-shirt, a card, and one of the most heartfelt letters I have ever received.  Just to clarify, the Superman shirt is symbolic of me being a hero to my kids, and I wore that shirt with immense pride as I spent the day with them today.

Leelee, thank you for the gifts, thank you for your friendship, but most importantly thank you for your forgiveness.  After reading this book, I do see things more clearly now, and I feel I have a better understanding of what you have been trying to tell me all along.  I want you to know that even after all we’ve been through, I know and I believe that you are lovely, you are worth pursuing and you are worth fighting for.  Instead of rehashing it all, I am going to defer to your boy Drew.  “They say that love is in the timing / There’s a time to love for us all / But then I missed it by a season / Mine was summer, and maybe hers will be next fall.”

Like I’ve told you before, you’re an angel. Lose yourself in your romance with God, and find strength in your faith in Him and in the love of your friends.  Lifelong……

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