I was raised in a loving and secure home growing up, and I knew that my dad loved me.
I knew that because he told me so throughout my life—since I was a little boy until the last time I saw him before he died of a heart attack at age 64.
I was 38 when my father died. Even though I was a grown man, it was difficult dealing with that loss.
While I had a lot of positive memories and shared experiences with my dad while he was alive, one of the unexpected things that I grieved when he was gone was the fact that there were conversations we would never have together—things never said.
While I’m not a needy person, there are some things I needed from my father—just like every other man.
Unfortunately I didn’t get all of those needs met growing up, even though both my parents loved me.
My wife and I have three kids, and we strive to make sure all of their needs are met—even though I am still personally lacking in some areas.
Specifically, there are three things that I wish my father had told me while he was alive, that I routinely tell my kids.
1. “I believe in you.”
This is something that every son and daughter needs to hear from their father. The world, and “haters” in general, pose more than enough challenges to a child’s vision, dreams, and goals.
If my dad had come alongside and told me he believed in me and that I could do it—that encouragement would have been enough to inspire me to try again.
I gave up on several such youthful dreams and goals because I couldn’t believe or see beyond the momentary setbacks I experienced then.