I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

August 21st, 2010

Thank You Daddy, Thank You

“The best husband is a good father.”
Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr., Marriage Builders

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I have made many new women friends here in England. I sit beside or across from them and listen to their stories with intense interest. Some of the stories begin in far away places like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, or the Philippines. Some begin very nearby. All of the stories end here – or rather – are paused here – in London, playing themselves out. Some of my friends struggle at present, but all dream of abundance for themselves and their children. Far too many have sad experience with the men in their lives: with the fathers of their children. The worst of these men have abandoned their own families.

The disappearance or disengagement of biological fathers leaves wounds in the hearts of women and children that bleed for a long time afterward no matter what language you cry in. Whether the absent father is a distant memory or a fresh sorrow, he has killed something instead of giving life.

We have children and in-laws who call Dale “Dad” (one 5 year-old who calls him “Grandpa”) and many other adoptees who know him as “Papa Z”. We can hardly believe that the baby of the bunch turned 22 this week. Her father lavished time, attention and his hard-earned money on her, like he has since she was a tiny girl with ringlets. She used to make him bend over so she could squeeze his neck and call him “Beastie”, the fairy-tale prince. Her ringlets haven’t straightened, but her older daddy can now. It’s easy to kiss his cheek without standing on her toes, which she did again and again on birthday night. Overwhelmed by a beautiful summer and a beautiful day, culminating in an evening at the theater – all made possible by Dale – I watched as she wrapped herself around him and whispered, “Thank you, Daddy. Thank you.”

Thank you honey, thank you. Do you really know what it means to me as a woman to have the father of my children committed to their well-being? Can a man appreciate the depth of devotion his wife feels toward him when he gets down on the floor to tussle with the children? Does the male brain comprehend a woman’s delight when a big man sits a little child on his lap; when he opens his wallet to pay for that new pair of new shoes; when he accompanies her to parent night or makes certain the kitchen cupboards are full? Does he appreciate the security he creates for her when she is able to trust his approach to discipline? Can he know that she is his forever IF forever, he will protect not only her, but the little people that are an extension of her?

We will put our girl on a plane back to the states this weekend, and although my man says he is looking forward to having me all to himself for the first time in our lives, I know he will cry just the same, because he loves being a daddy.

“…men who accept the challenge of good fathering report that they come away with increased marital fulfillment. Their effort comes back to them many times over in the admiration of their wives.” Dr. Harley, His Needs Her Needs

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A WICKED Birthday

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLhGBwd_k34[/youtube]

Hint of Romance

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – well then, here’s my proverb: the way to a woman’s heart is through her children.

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!

Discussion

  1. Grant Z says:

    Wow! This is a very significant post and so very true. Why don’t more men realize the incredible importance of their callings as fathers and husbands? Why is it so hard for them to understand that where happiness truly lies? Or maybe many do but let other things distract them.

    I am grateful for the incredible example of my father. He is every bit as wonderful as the post describes and the video portrays, and I, as his son, have some very special feelings about him that only I know and understand. He helped me make it through my rough transition into teenage-hood by giving help and advice when I had questions and concerns about changes in myself and in my life. I have always known I can go to him for unbiased help. I know that there are few things more helpful to a child than a good, patient, loving father. Thank you Daddy, thank you!

    Besides my own experience with having a wonderful father, all the things I have learned as a Marriage, Family, and Human Development major at BYU have confirmed that this is all true. Fathers are a great blessing to their children. And really… if being a good dad is going to make your wife love you more, why not! Because even though I’m sure it’s an incredible experience to have happy kids who love you (I’m not a dad yet), I have experienced the joy that comes from knowing my wife is madly in love with me because I’m doing my best to be good. (She is also very patient when I’m less then good.)

    Thank you Mom for writing this tribute to Dad. And I sincerely pray for all those out there who have suffered and know that Heavenly Father, the best father, loves them and is looking out for them.

    • mona says:

      I wonder, Grant, if some men feel overwhelmed by the commitment and investment. I think others believe that you just ARE a good dad or a bad one, and worry they are not good enough. Some give up before they try. The real mistake, I think, is in thinking that you are born one way or another, or that your past decides what kind of dad you’ll be (as in what kind of father you had.) The truth is that we can learn. Both men and women benefit from parenting study: books, classes, seminars – anything! We like watching “Nanny 911” even! Men can overcome their fear and their lack of “natural” parenting with some effort. And, of course, the rewards, as you point out, are SO WORTH IT!

      • Grant Z says:

        I thought about that — that maybe they just don’t feel adequate. I agree that many people just think they are who they are based on their past experience and don’t know the joy of change. It’s hard sometimes but worth it as we have said.

  2. Bri Z. says:

    I LOVE this post (of course, I’m hard pressed to think of a post of yours that I haven’t loved).

    Referring to how to find a perfect prince to marry, my mama always used to tell her many little girls, “Watch how he treats his mother, for that is how he’ll treat you,” and also, “watch how he acts with children.” At her first baby shower this weekend, a good friend commented that one of the first times she thought about marrying her new spouse was when she saw how he played with his nieces and nephews. I thought back to watching my own fiancé interact with the crunchers (the nickname for our young friends in Washington — see the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVcRSyZu3u0&feature=search). It truly touches my woman-heart to see the tender love with which good men play and interact with children.

    I love how alike Hannah and Dad are. You can see evidence of his devotion to her and all his children in their mannerisms, but especially Hannah. She is very much her daddy’s little girl.

    I can’t get over the poignancy and pointedness of the following paragraph from your musing: “The disappearance or disengagement of biological fathers leaves wounds in the hearts of women and children that bleed for a long time afterward no matter what language you cry in. Whether the absent father is a distant memory or a fresh sorrow, he has killed something instead of giving life.” What pain and sorrow you have witnessed in the tender hearts of your new friends. What a terribly great responsibility the men in our lives carry upon their shoulders as fathers and husbands. It fills me with awe and gratitude for the strength, goodness, and constancy of the men in my life. Your post fills me with renewed love and appreciation for them. We need so much the security that good men provide for women and children.

    • mona says:

      Bri – your mommy is a wise woman. If would be a better world if women would study out the future father of their children before they give him the privilege.

  3. Heidi says:

    Then I don’t feel bad that when I’m looking for my prince and best friend, I also keep in high priority of what kind of father he will be for our children. Because it matters a lot to me. And it’s something I worry over so much because I don’t know how things will turn out. That’s a lot of trust in the Lord right there.

    P.S. I love, LOVE, L.O.V.E. Wicked!!!!!! A lot!

    • Bri Z. says:

      Heidi, sometimes I look at my husband and think, “man! I really just got lucky!” What I really mean is that the Lord has seriously blessed me. I had a list of qualities I was looking for in a husband and Grant continually exceeds that list. We watch out and prepare all we can, but I think you hit it spot on — finding a person you will be able to grow with forever is all about trusting in the Lord. He will bless you beyond your expectations. :D

  4. Diana Coatney says:

    Wow! The men in our life(s) and especially our fathers; I didn’t expect such an emotional response. I loved your post as always, but I was maybe even more touched reading some of your responses. Bri’s comment about the Lord blessing her to get the excellent husband really hit home with me. I know the Lord blessed me greatly when he put my husband in my path, so that I could have a great companion in my life and a great father for my children. It’s really true when I think back over the years many of my memories of times when I could say “I really love that man” were memories of him playing with, teaching, and helping my children. And still to this day I love to see him interact with my children, from my little Ian, age 8, to my grown and married son Ryan, age 28, and all those in between. I love that he is still working at being a great dad to my “grown” children. Being a good father is a life long job (just like motherhood) and it doesn’t stop when our children leave home. (Maybe not ever)
    My thoughts also went to my daddy and how much of who I am is defined by his influence in my life. I had a wonderful father who tried all his life to do the best he could for his children. And though there were times in my life where we struggled to have enough of the physical necessities we never lacked in the emotional and spiritual necessities. I always knew that I was loved and cherished and I always knew that God was real and that he was there for us, because my dad knew. To me these are the best thing to impart to children as they grow. I also had a wonderful grandfather who helped me to know how special I was and how important the Lord is. So the fathers in our lives keep being an influence through the generations. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the good men in my Life and for their efforts to be good fathers.
    Thank you Father thank you.

    • mona says:

      Diana, What a beautiful tribute to your father and to your husband! I especially appreciate you sharing specifics about what you dad and grandpa did for you.

  5. Sue Simper says:

    Beautiful, Mona! As some of those who love our “papa Z”, this was fun to read about him. And even though I’m sure you’re both mourning Hannah’s return to the U.S., we love having her home! We just didn’t want to let her go, tonight!

    The security of being nurtured, supported, and loved by a father allows both the children and the wife to soar to all kinds of heights. There’s such a great feeling of confidence and self worth when you know a dad is looking out for you and would do anything for you.

    Evan has been working 14 hr days the last two weeks. This morning, he sat down in his comfy chair and within minutes had all three little kids nestling in wherever they could on him – just content to be near him. Nothing could make me love him more. When he says things about our kids like, “that girl is so sweet!” or praises the boys, I feel like he’s just complimented me.

    There are so many temptations out there to distract fathers (especially), these days. The adversary knows how devastating their absence can be. Thank goodness for loyal and loving men of faith who find such contentment in leading a family – in that dadly way only they can do!

    • mona says:

      Oh Sue! The picture of Evan with all the kids in his lap just tugged at my heart so badly!!!!!! I miss my Crunchers!!! I really appreciate: “The security of being nurtured, supported, and loved by a father allows both the children and the wife to soar to all kinds of heights. There’s such a great feeling of confidence and self worth when you know a dad is looking out for you and would do anything for you.” So true!!!!!!

    • Hannah says:

      Sue! I miss you!!! And I love your comment: “…I feel like he’s just complimented me.” Children are extension of us, so it’s true! And I love mom’s musing about “a way to a woman’s heart is through her children.” How good young men are with children is one of the first things I look for in guys. We have to be PARTNERS in not just each others’ lives but in our children’s! And I have made it a number one priority to find a man who is fully committed to his family. And you are right Sue, there is so much out there that distracts men from that responsibility and from women settling for less.

      As this post says, I love my daddy more than words can express. He has made more sacrifices than I will ever know for me and his whole family, because he loves me and he loves being a daddy. I am his little girl, and I know it because he tells and shows me in all that he does and says. As I have said ever since I was little, and still say, “You are the best daddy in the world.”And because of his example, I know I will one day hear that in my own home from my own children, because I will choose someone just like him – a Daddy.

  6. Olivia says:

    SO many lives have been affected by divorce lately in my immediate circle.

    The other day I mentioned to Tim that yet another marriage had bit the dust; I included the details. His response was immediate and full of disgust…”What is wrong with these men? Where do they come from? and Why do these women fall for them!!??”

    Good questions.

    I often ponder myself how lucky I am to have found Tim. I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I found my Prince but looking back I am so glad that I did. If I didn’t ‘shop around’ I could have ended up alone and lonely with more than just my own broken heart to mend.

    Tim is a wonderful Daddy and watching him my nephew before we were married and watching him at work at the Day Care he worked at allowed me to glimpse into the future and KNOW that he was going to be PERFECT!! ….and I wasn’t disappointed!

  7. Sylvia says:

    There are those who live with the challenges of husbands and fathers who do not fit this model. They live daily with the consequences of their choices and trust in the Lord as promised in Isaiah 40:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right had of my righteousness.”

    Their only hope is in the Atonement and the Love of our Savior and our Father in Heaven.

  8. Mother Smith says:

    When I sat in Ward counsels…discussing situations among the Young Women…I remember this one thought kept that kept coming to my mind…I turned to all the Brethren sitting in that room…and expressed this DEEP truth….that was so powerfully forming in my mind…”Brethren…YOU MUST BECOME “THE MAN” in your DAUGHTER’S LIFE…while she is growing up!!!!! YOU MUST be her EXAMPLE…HER PROTECTOR…HER MENTOR….or she will seek it elsewhere…long before she is READY and PREPARED for the REAL FUTURE PRINCE that is to be hers…..!

    • Bri Z. says:

      I am continually surprised at how like my father my husband is. When I first met him I was sure they were totally different. But as I get to know him better and better, I realize that I am lucky to have married someone just as amazing as my dad — and who protects and comforts me in that special way that only men can.

      • Heidi says:

        I remember when I was growing up that they said girls often marry men who are like their fathers, and boys marry women like their mothers. I figured that would definitely be a good thing if those fathers and mothers were righteous people.

        And now I can look back over the years and see that the young men I have been attracted to have often been very similar to my father. And that the most important quality for me that I’ve seen these young men share with my father is that the Gospel is the most important thing in their life, which thus influences each one of their thoughts and actions.

  9. Laura says:

    True, true! And I agree with Sue’s comment that when my husband (or anyone, really) compliments or is kind to my children, it warms my heart!

  10. You said this all so well. Congrats on being in the top 50 Mormon bloggers! That’s awesome!

  11. Belinda says:

    I just wanted to share with you all the pain of growing up without a father, who was never around, that has left a great void in my life as a little girl. I believe that it has also affected my choices in my relationships with my childrens fathers. I guess I have been looking for the one that would be able to fill the void, but never realised that my father in heaven is far better and has always been there for me in good times and bad.
    I have been lucky enough to feel his love surround me and I know that with his guidance and love the right one is out there waiting for me to notice him. In Jesus Name. Amen.

    • Bri Z. says:

      Belinda, your comment touched my heart. We all have the perfect example of a father, our Father in Heaven and He is ALWAYS there for us. Thank you for sharing that sweet thought.

  12. Debbi says:

    I am grateful beyond the ability to express for the heart turning experience I had when I first joined the church – the emphasis that was put on my father, though he wasn’t a member. It annoyed me a lot at first, but over the next year and a half, of constant indoctrination and counsel to honor my parents and express my love and gratitude for all they had done for me, I changed from a willful independent and ungrateful daughter to an awed young woman who then spent the next 35 years learning just HOW wonderful her parents were, and feeling so blessed, even after Daddy died when I was barely 22, while my siblings hung on to their hurts and judgements and disappointments that have left them so very very hurt their whole lives. It could have been the same for me – for I have come to understand that perception determines the impact of the past on the present and future. My parents were faithful to each other and provided well for me, and I know now that they loved me very much and taught me very well. I have had way too many friends pour out their hearts to me of absent fathers and the insecurity this bred in them. It never occurred to me, growing up, that any father would abandon his family. It happens all too often. But there are many people who we think of as admirable who were orphans – God offers special care to families with no father, but it takes faith to believe, seek it and depend on it. I know I draw most of my strength I’ve needed so much as an adult, from the confidence my father instilled in me as a child. Thank you Daddy. I love you forever.

    • Bri Z. says:

      Your comment reminded me… when I was younger, I was a harsh critic of my parents. As I was truly converted to the gospel I saw my parents in a purer light. I realized how incredibly blessed I was and am to have goodly parents who love each other and each of their children. That love gave me confidence and the ability to become who I need to be. I hope everything I do conveys to them my immense gratitude for their instilling righteous principles and convictions in me and most especially my gratitude for their unceasing love for me. They encouraged and taught me to turn to the truest source of comfort when they could not heal my hurts — my Heavenly Father.

  13. Sarah says:

    Watching a man be a Daddy is HOT! Watching him be tender and teach is so attractive. I love hearing/seeing ANY guy do that with children, especially his own!

    I’m so lucky to have so much!
    Love you!

    p.s. Congratulations on the well deserved award!

  14. Alan LaFleur says:

    Mona, sharing a brain, I have asked myself the same questions, of my own gender. What seems so natural to me (and obviously to Dale) is often a foreign concept to many men. Unfortunately, we have ourselves (society) to blame. Until we teach our sons that it is okay to cry, feel and show deep emotions, and that by doing such, we haven’t done anything damaging to our “gender-hood”, the cycle will continue doing what cycles do (…hmmm… where have I read about that concept before?). For as different as men and women can be, we sure are a lot the same, or can be if given the chance. It’s about being a team, and God bless those (women AND men) who have to be a team alone. It is a road that I cannot conceive of traveling well.
    Thank you for your examples, friendship and love.
    Love to you and Dale!

    • mona says:

      Thank you Alan! It is interesting how you use the word “natural” and connect it to the gentler emotions which come so “naturally” to women, or at least, women are more naturally expressive of those emotions. You are right, of course, being able to express oneself is part of parenting – as are teaching resiliency and courage – both of which men express by example traditionally. The whole gamut of emotion is felt by both men and women but expressed to different degrees, don’t you think? The men women love though, are able to show the sensitivity necessary to being a good dad.

      • Alan LaFleur says:

        With Remick turning eight this January, he’s still at the age where
        the littlest things can start the tears flowing, & I find that I’m fighting
        with his siblings, who insist that he start to “man-up” and stop crying.
        I have huge issues with that. I don’t want him to cry every time
        something goes wrong, but I want him to know that it’s okay if he
        does cry. It’s funny how different “the baby” in the family is raised.
        I’ve learned a lot about what I did wrong, and am determined to not
        make the same mistakes. Julie and I often joke about how I am the
        nurturer and she is the disciplinarian (roles that typically the other
        gender plays). I’m just grateful we found each other!
        Again, love and miss you both!

  15. Valerie M. says:

    I sure hope your good husband read this post. It’s great that you recognize what a treasure you have! I hope that my son can grow up to be the same kind of father despite the rocky relationship he has with his own father and I hope I can find that kind of husband someday! Yay!!!! for the good guys.

    • mona says:

      Oh Valerie! I’m SO glad you can say “Yay!!!! for the good guys!” cause there ARE good guys! And you deserve one!!!! God bless you in teaching your son.

  16. Pam says:

    Sadly, the feminist movement has, in large measure, shot women in the foot with their anti -male rants and their insistence that children don’t need fathers and that women don’t need men. Well guess what sisters? You were wrong on both counts.

    My sister is a teacher and without even knowing the circumstances of her students, she can point out who has an engaged father and who doesn’t. I don’t think we can ever underestimate the power for good (and bad for that matter) a father can be. I have such admiration for men who can overcome the bad examples of poor fathers and who can go on to be the kind of fathers and husbands society so desperately needs.

  17. Lindsey says:

    I agree…. I love my hubby even more because he is not only my best friend, but a fabulous dad! Thank you for emphasizing the importance of this on your blog.

  18. marzee says:

    That made me cry. I do wish men understood what it means to us when we see them be such great and tender fathers. There’s nothing that warms the heart in quite the same way.

    Oh – and I also loved your line, “The disappearance or disengagement of biological fathers leaves wounds in the hearts of women and children that bleed for a long time afterward no matter what language you cry in. ” So true.

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