My friend Lance O'Donnell, a Lutheran pastor in Chicago, wrote this post about his father and it caught my attention because I knew that his relationship with his late dad had been, at times, strained.
And my experience has been that pastors usually don't jump at the chance to be transparent about things in their lives that show their struggles whether in the present or in the past.
But, in his post, Lance talks about one of the most important human relationships, father-child and father-son and he does it from a personal perspective. I'd like to hear more from him and from others.
Why? I still have scars from my relationship with my dad. I've forgiven him for deserting my mom and me when I was a baby and for never coming back and then for disowning me when I finally found him in my twenties when he had a whole different family on the other side of the country.
I yearned for affirmation from my dad or from any older man who I respected. It never happened. But, the struggle drove me on a search which made me see God more clearly.
With my kids, I think the cycle of bad fathering has been broken. I have only my heavenly Father and my wife to thank for that.
Besides the Bible, there's another book that really made a difference for me, The Heart of a Father by Ken Canfield. In it, the author talks about the basics of good fatherhood, but first talks about how you'll never be a fully engaged dad until you've come to grips with your relationship with your earthly father.
By the way, I found this book at a Promise Keepers conference at Soldiers Field in Chicago which I attended with my son, Justin. It was one of 11 such conferences that we went to together.
It sounds like Lance has done that and his post is helpful for young guys and even older guys who are still or who have struggled with the dad issue.
Thanks Lance. Pretty cool. Thanks for being so transparent in your blogging.