A Note for Fathers

My daughter was sitting on the floor waiting for me to open the crayon cupboard. As she was waiting, she was chattering. She’s always talking, that one.

“I’m all done my snack, Mommy. I want to colour. I can’t open the cupboard. Can you open the cupboard for me?”

“I’ll be there in a minute.” I replied.

“Will you be here in a minute? Will you open the cupboard? It’s stuck.”

“Yes, sweetie.” I sighed, tired. She was supposed to be napping and I had a list of things I wanted to get done.

Her little voice continued. “I’m a treasure and Paige is a treasure. Daddy said so. Mommy, can I have some fruit snacks? I like you. Can I sit beside you? Can I have some juice? I like it in my Oscar cup.”

I almost missed it in the rest of her chatter. It was a bold, matter-of-fact statement that revealed a sense of complete confidence, complete self-assuredness: “I’m a treasure.”

It took me back through the years to another little girl.

“Dad, I wrote this. Will you read it?” My father was sitting at the end of our navy blue couch drinking his coffee. Timidly, I handed him a piece of paper.

He put his cup on the end table and took the slip of paper. I waited while he scanned it, nervous about what he would say. The minutes felt like an eternity. Finally, he looked up.

Then he made a pronouncement that, in the span of a breath, shaped the course of my life. “This is good!” he said. “You have a real gift.”

I brought many slips of paper and open notebooks to him after that. And he always said the same thing. “You have a real gift. Keep writing.”

I did. I went to university, obtained a degree in English and became an editor. I went to workshops and took writing classes at night. I kept at it.

I don’t have a bestselling book or a newspaper column or a magazine feature in my name, but that’s okay. I write because God has put it in my heart to write. Often, I write just for me. And whenever I get discouraged, I remember how my dad believed in me. He encouraged me to keep putting my pen to paper, my fingers to the keyboard, my innermost dreams on a page.

If you’re a father, there is something that you need to understand. Your words have weight. Your children will carry your words with them throughout their lifetime. Your words can give your children the confidence they need to step into the future that God has for them.

This is why my daughter’s statement today spoke so deeply to my heart. “I’m a treasure. Paige is a treasure. Daddy said so.” In a child’s mind, if Daddy says something, it must be true.

Fathers, what are you saying?

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