Happy Father’s Day!
This week our beloved, Nur Preston, has offered an article to share a bit of his experience as a father.
When God created children, He created them with unconditional love toward their fathers. No matter how the father treats them or behaves around or toward them, they have a pull toward their father that is undeniable. This pull is in fact God given and built into them when they were born.
Even if your child is not fond of you at the moment (or perhaps you have a great relationship with them), if you notice, no matter what they say or how they act, they are being drawn to you. Maybe on Father’s Day your child or children do not show up, they do not call, they do not reach out. Even if that is the case, in their heart they will be thinking of you and longing for that connection with you.
I recently saw an example of this unconditional love in a class on mediation that I attended. In that class there was a mediation between 3 children and the father. The father had been one given over to cruelty. He did not treat the children well, he physically abused them, mentally abused them etc. However, in the mediation the 3 children were there trying to reconcile with their father! They were reaching out to him!
How strong is that unconditional love that no matter how children are treated and spoken too, and no matter how much they dislike their father and his behavior, they still try to break down the barriers and connect.
If you are a father like me, secretly I am hoping that my children really show up on father’s day. I am hoping they notice me and that in whatever form they are capable of that they will take time from their busy lives to reach out and say thank you and I love you.
I have four children that range from 23-17, 3 boys and my little girl. One is out working in the world, two are in college, and my youngest has 1 more year of high school yet to go. Each child is different and I have a unique relationship with each of them. No matter the condition of the relationship, I still want to feel their connection, to feel their love on this Father’s Day.
The irony of this is that I have no control over what they will or will not do on this special day. I hope they show up but they may not.
The question for me then is, since I know that my children love me unconditionally, and I know that on Father’s day (or when they remember that Sunday was Father’s Day) they will be wanting to connect with me, how can I prepare my heart to receive their love that they will be giving at whatever time they choose to give it? What can I do to invite them to me? What barriers to their love am I putting up in my heart that stops them from being able to connect with me?
The following is a short list of things that I have done over the years to prepare my heart to receive their love, not only on Father’s Day, but every day. My prayer is that you may find some of them helpful and be encouraged to bring some of them into your life.
Spend time looking at the places where I have been less than perfect and seek the child’s forgiveness.
- I am far from the perfect father. I have made many mistakes, but even with those mistakes, I love my children deeply. As I have sat with these mistakes and noticed my own stubbornness, etc., I have taken time over the years in different ways to go to the children and express to them my mistake. Without any expectation, I have asked God and them for forgiveness. I can report that not only have barriers come down in my heart, but I have watched my children’s hearts open as their belief that my actions were their fault began to fall away.
Start observing the child’s behavior and asking myself how I behave or act the same way.
- My children are my mirror. If I want to see myself, I look at my children. At times, when I have taken this approach, I have not liked what I see. Instead of judging the kids or talking bad about them, I have taken up the practice of looking inside of myself to see if I carry that same behavior and attitude. So many times I find that I do. If so, I have taken time to work with those things to correct them and make them right. The benefit of this? I have stopped judging my children for their actions or words. Again another large barrier of the heart between us has dropped.
Find ways to really listen to them and really get to know them.
- As I parent, I have many ways that I want my children to be. I observe them as people and always want more for them. Many times I want them to be different than what they are. This has been a very large barrier in my heart. As I have began (and have a long way to go) to really listen to them for the purpose of really getting to know them, I have been amazed at how beautiful each of them is. In addition, this practice of really listening has allowed me to hear their struggles, pain, and triumphs with different ears. Ears that are open to love, accepting, and ready to learn.
So on this Father’s Day, I hope you are encouraged to prepare your heart for the unconditional love that is already being sent your way. What is the benefit? Connection and feeling the love in your heart that you have for each other. After all, what else is there in life?
Many Blessings for a wonderful Father’s Day weekend!
of the Orlando shootings
In the wake of the recent events in Orlando, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and all involved.
Many questions have arisen about whether the shootings were in line with the religion of Islam. Our faculty, Amany Shalaby, Ph.D., has written an article for our Patheos site regarding Islamic Law and homosexuality. I encourage you to take a minute to read these important words.
With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at UOS