The Man Behind the Dad Needs Love Too!

As Father’s Day approaches, take a moment and think about your dad, not just as your father but as a human being. Whether your dad is living or not, and whatever your relationship is with him, just consider what it might feel like to be him. Not him the father, him the man.

Because we’ve grown up with this man being our dad, that is the lens we see him through. As a result, we have certain expectations of how he should show up in the world. And for us women, as we get married, many of us use our dad as the standard for what our husbands should be like.

What we often forget is that there is a man behind the dad. A man who has emotions. A man who wants to get it right but doesn’t always have the answer. A man who is learning along with the rest of us. What would be possible if we connect to this person in addition to the dad? What can we learn about him? What can we learn about ourselves?

We know now that the best leaders are the ones who choose to be real and vulnerable. That is the best dad too. So many, though, were taught to hide their feelings, and they have mastered that quite brilliantly to the point where those unexpressed emotions end up manifesting as high blood pressure and other diseases. We expect them to be there for us when life throws a curveball. Who is there for them when the same thing happens?

A good friend recently shared with me that she miscarried her first child. She was devastated, and everyone flocked around her to support and comfort her. It wasn’t until she could see through the haze of her own pain that she had the awareness to ask her husband how he felt. He too had already become emotionally attached to this child, and he too had lost a child. No one thought to comfort him or offer him support though. All of that attention went to mom. Dads have feelings too.

So, on Father’s Day, take the time to look deeper and see the person behind the dad. Connect with that man. SEE him as a human who has done the best he knew how to do. He didn’t know what he didn’t know just like you don’t know what you don’t know. Be vulnerable with him, and allow him the opportunity to be vulnerable with you. That may be outside both your comfort zones as you take your relationship to another level. However, in the end, that is a gift that you not only give to him, you give it to yourself as well.

My dad, pictured above, just turned 93. I am looking forward to a trip back to Minnesota in a couple of weeks to “connect” with him. Choose joy!