This Father's Day why not give your dad the gift of a closer connection. Kevin Renner, author of
In Search of Fatherhood,
joined us with some advice for all of us:
- As a woman, get to know your father as a man. You probably think you know him and you probably don't. Before it is too late, get to know him as someone other than your father. Encourage him to open up with you. Try to learn what shaped him, what his life's disappointments were. He's probably never told you about these, but he's probably endured degradations at work, bullying, abuse, abandonment, betrayal, rejection, and heartbreak. Behind his public persona, he may be a painfully lonely man, or full of fear. Get him to unfold as much of his life story as he's capable of. Try to see him in his entirety. You may well come to love him for it.
- "Show and tell." Tell him you love him. He wants to hear that, over and over. All of his life, he wanted you to admire him. He may not have the tools to communicate with you, but he wants your affection. He craves it. Let him have it, if you can. Show him you love him.
- Play catch. Do you remember how you wanted to be with him when you were young? Just him? He wants that with you now. Just the two of you. It doesn't matter so much what you do. Take him to a movie. Have dinner with him. Let him feel you treasuring him in the time that he has left.
- Hug your dad. Let him feel your love. His eyelids and his body are sagging. He's losing his hearing. He's lost his parents and some of his closest friends. He has always wanted your affection, and he wants it more now than ever.
- Tough love. Your father may want still want you to be Daddy's little girl. You're an adult. You're his peer. Be clear with him that the relationship isn't daddy-daughter, but adult to adult.
For more information, visit Kevin's website.