My two little girls take gymnastics weekly and I can’t bear the thought of leaving them there of fear that I will hear the sound of an ambulance only minutes after I leave the gym to get a scoop of ice cream just down the street. So, I stay and watch them tumble and bounce around from station to station with as much composure as I can muster. It’s often hard to watch them fall down, but I know that is part of the process and they must learn how to get back up.
One thing took me by surprise as I sat on the bleachers with the other moms and dads. I was suddenly aware of how many times they performed a stunt only to immediately turn to see if I was watching. Once we made eye contact I knew they were waiting on the wink, head nod or thumbs-up sign. This happened several times during the hour long class and then hit me with a sudden burst of emotion just as we were about to leave.
As I approach my 40th birthday in a few months, I realize I’m not immune to this type of behavior with my own father. Even as recent as a few years ago I can remember playing drums with my former band Big Daddy Weave and looking into the audience to see if my father was watching me play and if he “approved” of what I was doing. Why did it matter if he approved of what I was doing and whether or not he thought I was doing a “good job”?
I believe we are all wired the same and long for acceptance from our earthly fathers. I’m a happily married grown man with a beautiful wife and two precious daughters, yet my self-confidence can appear to hang in the balance based on my father’s approval. I’m not alone in this observation because I have listened to multiple friends’ talk of how they longed for acceptance from their father and often felt as if they never got it.
I’m grateful for a father who always supported me in everything I did and was always there to offer a thumbs-up or a head nod when the time was right. I know that is not the case with everyone but I wanted to write this to encourage you to find acceptance in the One who will never let you down. You may be a single mom with little ones and wonder if your children will struggle with this. You may be an adult and have a huge gaping hole inside waiting for your father to fill it will gestures of approval.
Wherever you find yourself, please remember that an earthly father can only do so much. They are not perfect and will let you down from time to time. That’s because they are human. However, please know that our Heavenly Father will not let you down. Regardless of your situation, you can have a father that offers unconditional love and approval if you will only come to Him and receive the free gift of salvation He offers.
A few final thoughts
If you are a father, let this serve as a challenge to you as you acknowledge the influence you have on your children. Remember the words of this 40 year old man who still longs for approval though I’ve had it all my life. As a dad, you can never stop supporting your children in what they do. You should always be their #1 fan. They are counting on it!