I recently received an email from a man who wrote a moving tribute to his Dad. His insight blessed me tremendously and I’d like to share it with you, in honor of Father’s Day approaching. May those of us who were blessed with an honorable Dad remember to give him the gift of respect this Father’s Day.
A TRIBUTE TO DAD
In the course of tragedy in my life I’ve finally come to a place where I’ve begun my search for truth in the bible and through this search, and by the grace of God, have discovered amazing things about life. One of the areas where I’ve attained a newly found wisdom is what God teaches about a man’s need for respect. The core scripture that teaches about respect is Ephesians 5:33. Although this verse is primarily directed towards marriage, the concept of respect has significant application to other male relationships like the relationship of a father with his son. As I’ve pondered over a man’s need for respect I’ve been blessed with the ability to see my Dad in a new light rather than in the light of what the world taught me about my Dad. I’ve come to the realization that my Dad was worthy of respect and that understanding of his worthiness has been revealed to me in many ways.
In his book, Love and Respect, Dr Emerson Eggerichs describes respect as a man’s deepest desire and need. He uses the acronym C.H.A.I.R.S. as a way to further define six areas that constitute most men’s need for respect. These definitions are not inventions of Dr Eggerichs but rather his interpretation of what the bible reflects about a man’s need for respect.
As a tribute to my Dad I’d like to speak to what he has meant to me in 5 of the 6 areas described by CHAIRS. I will not speak to the last area, the area of sexuality, because that area is exclusively related to my Mom.
The first area is Conquest. Conquest is described by Dr Eggerichs as “a man’s desire to work and achieve.” In looking back over my life I would describe my Dad as a very hard worker at his job. He always had an office in our home and when he was home he spent a lot of time there… Many times I would wake up to the noise of his calculator cranking away. In spite of many of the conflicts I had with my Dad I always recognized that one of the greatest gifts he gave me was a sense of responsibility to work hard at whatever I chose to do.
The second area is Hierarchy. This is described as a man’s desire to protect and provide. In spite of what many think about this area I fully understand that a man’s motivation in this area comes from a sense of responsibility for his family. I never felt a sense of danger in my life because I knew I was protected. I’m certain there were times my Dad asked himself “why am I doing this” as we all have, but my Dad was not one of those men who would give up their responsibility towards their family for selfish reasons. My Dad’s sense of morality made it impossible for him to harm his family. As I compare him with many other Dads I realize how blessed I have been to have him there as my protector and provider.
The “A” in C.H.A.I.R.S. stands for Authority. It reflects a man’s responsibility to be strong and lead. My Dad was clearly the leader in our home and as such exercised authority. As I think back to my teenage years in the late 60s and early 70s, the world taught me to rebel against authority and my Dad was often a target of that rebellion. I now know that a man does not view his obligation to lead as a right but rather a responsibility. Exercising authority can be a very unpopular and challenging responsibility but in spite of the resistance my Dad encountered from me he was steadfast in fulfilling his responsibility of authority. I now thank my Dad for that and am also very thankful that he instilled this same sense of responsibility in me.
The next letter is “I”. It stands for Insight and represents a man’s need to analyze and counsel. Since a very young age I realized that if I wanted something bad enough I could get it but had to work for it. I’ve always attributed that capability and sense of responsibility to my Dad… his attitude was that I would appreciate what I had more if I worked for it rather than having it handed to me…I have no doubt that God used my Dad in a special way to teach me what he wanted me to know in becoming a responsible caretaker of what God has provided.
The last letter I want to talk about is “R” or Relationship. This is defined as a man’s desire for a “shoulder to shoulder” friendship. As I grew up with that spirit of rebellion instilled in me during my college years I felt that I did not have a good relationship with my Dad. I now know that the problem was more due to my attitude…I now see clearly all the wonderful things my Dad did with me... I remember countless trips to the mining claim we had in the mountains as a child. We went there often and I remember working side by side with my Dad helping him with the property. I now know that there were many special days in my life that strengthened the bond I had with my Dad.
These are all the reasons my Dad is worthy of respect... My Dad is a quiet person and doesn’t talk a lot about what is going on inside but I know he had a very difficult childhood with his own Dad…He told me some of the reasons he felt that was and I can see that my Dad came from a family very unlike the one he created for himself. I was especially touched when he told me that he had a dream about his Dad and how horrible his Dad was to him. My Dad then asked me if I felt the same way about him. When he asked me that my heart cried out because I wanted my Dad to hear what was going on in my heart so he would know that he wasn’t anything like his Dad. I hope this letter tells him that and my greatest desire for my own kids is that they feel as connected and thankful for me as I am for my own Dad.