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138 thoughts on “What do you Say on Father’s Day?

  1. Ken, I long to have my dad show me he loves me with his actions. He tells me with his words, but they are shallow and meaningless without the action to back it up. My dad has been an alcoholic for over 50 years, and loves the bottle more than he loves his family. He lives alone in the woods in Maine, and has 7 grandchildren he barely knows or doesn’t know at all. He has three children who have no relationship with him because of the tremendous hurt his words and actions have caused. I have made the conscious decision to forgive, but the relationship is just not going to happen, I’m afraid. Love needs to be real.

    • Keep praying Michelle. God can do amazing things. Keep strong boundaries with him. And let your relationship be based on what is healthy for YOU. You should not be harmed by him, (or anyone).
      Check out a group called Celebrate Recovery, it can help you learn how to deal with the alcoholics in your life!
      I love it! So does my family, who thought I was going to go crazy from all the madness the addict brought into our lives!
      God Bless you Michelle!

    • Ken, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! You have me choking back tears. I have had a somewhat stressed relationship with my Dad. My parents divorced when I was very young, and circumstances as they were, I did not see him very much. I spent a great deal of my life, without realizing it, trying to earn his love… be on my best behavior, wear my best clothes when I did see him, make the best grades, be sure that my younger brother and sister did the same. Then, when I got married, we didn’t speak for a few years because he did not approve of the marriage. We spent so may years, once we did start talking again, not really talking. The relationship was just so superficial. Just a few months ago, we finally made a breakthrough. He told me how much he loved me, that he needed time to get used to the idea of my interracial marriage (we just celebrated our 20th anniversary, by the way) and we realized that we both had been hurt and misunderstood. I now know that we are on the right track. But even if our relationship never gets to the place the I long for, I know that he loves me… for just me. My prayer now (and has been for quite some time) is that he would come to know and love My Jesus! God bless you, Ken! 🙂

    • Hang in there Michelle. I would bet there are sleepless nights when your dad wished he could break the bondage that holds him. I hate the way additions rip the heart from relationships. I love the fact that you have shared your story here.

    • Michelle – I know several people who have or are experiencing the same with someone they love. I am a member of Al-Anon, which is a support group for family and friends of an alcoholic. The meetings are similar to Alcoholics Annonymous but are designed for you and me – the ones who aren’t drinking but are still just as effected by the bottle. I am proud to say that I have one very special family member who has been sober now for 4 years. But, I also have a close family member who isn’t sober and she’s the most difficult to deal with.

      Al-Anon gave me a safe place to share my feelings, to feel understood, and I was glad to hear everyone’s experience, strength and hope and can now share my experience, strength and hope as well.

      Please understand that your dad doesn’t “love” the bottle more than you. It’s a disease and I’m sure he longs for you as much as you long for him.

      Celebrate recovery is also a good program. I recommend you try both. I found a more spiritual connection through Celebrate Recovery but I experienced a better connection with others and in my understanding of the disease in Al-Anon. I guess you can say I found my peace in Al-Anon but was able to praise my God and thank him for that peace in Celebrate Recovery.

      You never know…it may lead to a whole new relationship with your father. Maybe not the one you “expect” but one you may never have dreamed possible.

      I’m lifting both you and your father up in prayer tonight.

    • Michelle, I had a mother who didn’t say I love you and a dad who was an alcoholic as well. He did show his love in actions but when you’re a child sometimes it’s hard to see it. I was a brand new Christian when my dad died (I was 19). God showed me that He was papa. He would be my father. God shows us His love for us in more ways than we can see or sometimes understand. I doubt your dad loves the bottle more than you; addiction is so strong that the only one who can break the bonds is Jesus. Perhaps like Ken’s story, it takes a while to recognize love when we’re only looking for one way for it to be there. When we learn to recognize all the ways God loves us perhaps we can recognize when others love us.

  2. Oh, Ken, you have no idea how many people have wept those same tears, screamed internally as well as outloud…. TELL ME YOU LOVE ME!!!Some may never get to hear it, some only once. The love that we crave from our parents is a justifiable desire. They are supposed to LOVE us! So many of us, as children, then as parents and grandparents,seek out that love 1st from our parents, then our spouse, and children, and grandchildren. Even when we have all of the love we could ever have from them. We can still feel so EMPTY. That is because without Christ’s love, we still are without, hungry for more, but when we get him! YIPEE!
    Thanks for the blog, it was very applicable today!
    LaShelle <3 +

  3. Thank you for your story Ken. I also grew up believing that my father did not love me. We were complete opposites and I felt like I would never live up to his expectations and I didn’t even want to be the person he wanted me to be. Many angry words passed between us during my junior high and high school years. I grew to hate my father, though he always provided the things I needed. After I moved away to college God dealt with me on the issue of forgiveness and through tears I also wrote my father a letter asking him to forgive me for all things I had done and said to him. Though my dad never wrote letters or called me on the phone I expected a reply from him. Months went by and I finally made a trip home. Both my dad and I were sick with colds and once again we seemed on opposite planes of life and angry words passed between us again. I was so frustrated as I went back to college that I gave up of ever being reconciled to and forgiven by my father. But in talking to my mom, I found out that he had cried (he never cries) when he read my letter and kept it on his nightstand. A few months later my parents came to visit me and my father gave me the forgiveness I had so longed for. He begged my forgiveness as well and that day a new friendship began. Today I am married and have 4 children. My parents live just over an hour away and my dad calls my every week, We visit with them several times a month and I’ve worked side by side with him on some remodel projects. I hope to never have strained relations with my children and though it is not always easy for me to say “I love you,” I know the importance of it. I’ve learned to never give up when God is working on someone and to be loving even when I don’t feel like it. Thank for for your ministry and may God bless you!

    • I honestly did know that my father loved me. I don’t think I ever doubted it. I did however so want to hear it whispered to me. I am so glad you sent that letter and glad you told me your story.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. Seven years ago my children lost their father to cancer. He was very active in their lives and they knew he loved them. I found myself furious at my own father, alive and well and not a part of our lives. I realized my anger was just a reflection of my hurt, and I wrote my father a song telling him how much I have missed him being a part of my life, and how I miss him even still. I have never sent it to him. I don’t know that I could.

    • I am sorry for your loss. I hope you will send your father the song you wrote. Even if he doesn’t respond, I think it will be a part of your healing. My dad DID respond to my letter. It was just in a way I didn’t expect. I am so grateful I sent it.

  5. What a powerful testimony Brother! I am certain that many men across this nation can relate. I am also one in which the sting of memories flooded my heart and soul while reading your blog. I have longed for an unconditional love from my father. We also had a very stressed relationship throughout my upbringing.

    In my later years, after getting married, I thought I would see a change in our relationship. But, not much changed. Then came his grandchildren. This I thought would bring us closer together. How could he ignore his precious grandchildren? His grandchildren are now grown and on their own.

    The years my dad has forfeited are his loss, not mine or my children’s. I have made every effort possible to ensure my children knew how much I love them. Both in words and deeds. Have I been the perfect farther? No. Have I put my selfish needs and/or my job before my family at times? Yes. In spite of my failures and shortcomings, they know how much I love them, in spite of my sins.

    I still long for a “real” relationship with my earthly father. My prayer is that the Lord will restore this relationship. Here on earth or in once we together in heaven.

    Thanks so much Ken for your honesty and being so transparent to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    May God continue to use you for His purposes and His Glory! Remain faithful my brother!

    Scott

    • I am sorry for the loss of forfeited years. Unfortunately I believe that you and your children suffered a loss as well. It sounds like your children will grow up knowing and hearing about your love. Thank you for your story.

  6. I grew up with a “step-father” who was A MAN. He was strong, solid, a stoic Scot. It wasn’t that he didn’t have feelings, he just really didn’t know what to do with them or how to show them. In all of the years that I knew him before he died (38) I don’t ever remember him using my name. When I was growing up we had a volitile relationship. I resented him and was sure he didn’t like me at all, let alone love me.

    When I grew up and got married, my mother gave my husband and I 1/2 an acre beside her house, to build our first home. So we lived next door to my Mom and John. My husband traveled a lot and when he was away if I had ANY problems John would come over and “fix” them. I remember one night, close to midnight when our sceptic pump quit working. John had been asleep for ages but, without a grumble, he came over and had that pump fixed for me in no time.

    There were other times when I had to get my little one to the doctor’s and we had only one car — and it was in town with my husband (we lived in the country about 40 min. from town). John didn’t hesitate. He simply packed us into the car and away we went. When we finally had a second car, if I was going anywhere in the winter, he would start my car for me and scrape the window. In fact, once he retired (early, due to the fact that he had cancer and the radiation treatments really wiped him out), he made sure our yard was always blown out and our driveway clean (it was a loooong driveway).

    And then there were the talks. There were times (not a lot, but a number) where we would sit on the phone and “chat” like “girlfriends” for an hour or more.

    Somewhere in my mind I envisioned John telling me he loved me before he died. I just new he did….One day he had bleeding in his brain (he’d suffered a ministroke the week before). My mom couldn’t convince him to let her call the ambulance. “He won’t go to the hospital”, she said. “Just call the ambulance, Mom. He’ll go!” I went next door. Walked in and saw him sitting in his chair, unable to talk or use his right side. I rubbed his brush cut and said something like, “Mom says your not feeling so good and you won’t go the to hospital, but you know you have to!” So he did. I stood beside him on the stretcher as they were placing him in the ambulance. His arm fell off his chest and he couldn’t lift it, so I placed it back on his chest. A tear rolled down His cheek and I said “I love you and I’ll be to the hospital as fast as I can.”

    When I got to the hospital he was in emergency and being a good stubborn scottish patient. I noticed his mouth was dry so picked up a drink to give him. My mom said “He won’t drink, you know. He won’t even drink for the doctor.” He drank for me. In fact while he was in hospital the only one he would eat for was me. This big, stoic, proud man let me feed him like a baby (and it could not have been a great experience for him. I would miss his mouth and then have to wipe the food off — not his fault but still humiliating for someone like him). He never did call me by name. He never did say the words, but I was right…before he died he made sure I new he loved me. I loved him to! I miss him. Alot.

    • Thank you. What a touching and marvelous story. My dad was a lot like your step father. My sister is writing a book about my father that I hope to share with you soon

  7. Thanks for this reminder of a time when I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was no one who loved me. Alcoholic parents, left to live alone in an apartment by myself, and friends who left when their parents found out my mother worked at the local strip club joint. So many hurts, abuse and pain. But meeting Jesus when I was 19 changed me. It took 8 more years before I could forgive my mother for unspeakable things she did. But God is the loving onslaught who never gives up. He overwhelmed my hatred and replaced it with love…genuine love. My parents had each received the Lord and God moved to save my estranged brother of 20 years. All along He said, “Trust me. I will take you up when your mother and father forsake you, I will be one who sticks closer that a brother. Trust me.” There is no amount of money, approval, acceptance, esteem, or affection from others that can touch the emptiness inside UNTIL Jesus comes in and fills up that deep crevasse that sucks the very life out of us. He is the father’s love. He is the shrine that screamed “I love you” into my life.

    • I have a message called, the wounded heart where I make the claim that we are born into the world with a wound in our heart that can only be healed with love. Jesus is the only one who can perfectly heal that wound. Sure helps to see glimpses of his love in others. Thank you for sharing your story

  8. I’ve spent all of my formative years(have yet to grow up, don’t plan on it any time soon hehe)in a home where love, while not often spoken, has been expressed in a variety of ways. I remember mom putting little notes in my lunchbox (to encourage me through often painful school days). She didn’t do it every day or even every other day, but I was always very happy when I got one. Just last week dad (who is also my boss) left a note on my work computer which said “I love you”. I was definitely not expecting it, but it sure made my day.
    That’s not to say our relationship has always been idyllic. There were several years when I wondered if my father loved me, because we never spent time together. I broached the subject (by letter then in a conversation). Turned out he didn’t realize I wanted to spend time with him. Later on, I developed an unusual medical condition that went undiagnosed after several months and multiple Dr visits tested the limits of parental patience and love. Today, I know without a doubt that my parents love me, and I’m thankful for them.

  9. Ken, This really touched my heart. Unlike your experience, though, my Dad said I love you and gave me a big hug every time I saw him. Even when I was going through my teens and didn’t really want his hugs-was rather embarrassed about it all actually. He acted like he didn’t know and gave me a great big hug anyway. After I got married and moved away,they continued but now I had grown to appreciate them again. I still remember how his eyes would light up as soon as he saw me enter the room and he’d make a bee-line to me to enfold me in a big hug. Even after I embarrassed our family and let every one down by getting pregnant before I was married. He still loved me and wasn’t embarrassed to show it to anyone. Dad’s been gone 12 1/2 years now and it still warms my heart to remember how my Dad loved me. A great example of our great God’s love, don’t you think?

  10. I can very much relate to this as one of my deepest longings in this life was to hear my Dad tell me he loved me. I knew he did but I so wanted to hear him speak it. I never did but in my heart I truly have peace because it was there in his own shrine. It also was motivation for me to not only show my children I love them but to vocalize it. PS……..I can’t wait to hear you again on the 30th in Sioux Falls. Recently I was playing one of your DVD’s and my 13 year son absolutely fell in love with your humor. He found so much joy in watching you. The roach bit is his favorite. I am bringing my children along next week to your show and Drew was so excited when he found out you were coming to Sioux Falls again and he was actually going to see you in person. God’s timing is perfect. Looking forward to it and maybe we will even look familiar as we met you backstage previously at the Pavilion and I visited with you briefly the following time at Lynwood Church. I had lost both my parents by age 35 and I prayed for joy in my sorrow. God delivered you into my life and I am so thankful he did. I listen every morning to “Lighten Up”. I cherish starting my day with laughter and I personally want to thank you for allowing God to use you to help others. I know that it does not come without sacrifice of those who love you as well as self…Thanks, Debra Veurink

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have had a tension filled relationship with my father at best. At this time, we aren’t speaking (his choice not mine). He has 4 grandchildren (his only grandchildren)–2 of which he has chosen to never know. It saddens me that he has missed out on so much in their lives. Our youngest turned 1 this past week and he has never even seen him.

    I recently wrote him a letter forgiving him for the hurt that he has caused in our relationship and asking for his forgiveness for my part. I haven’t had the courage to send it to him. But I think I will. I love my father and have always longed to have his approval. I have always felt as though I didn’t measure up for some reason. I may not be the smartest, most beautiful or talented person–but I am who I am because God chose to make me this way. I’m perfect for Him–so that’s all I can ask for. Even if my earthly father doesn’t value me or my life, I know that God does…

    I don’t know what the future holds for me and my father–but I’m at peace with it all. Thanks again and God bless!

  12. Ken
    Did not know i could laugh like that anymore. Last night was more than special and would have missed the whole thing if not for my wife of 37 years. Much like you, many of us now can tear up just thinking of their gentle, longsuffering, patience.

    The most spiritual relavance to date came from my Grandmother, whom along with my Grandfather lived with us until 93 years old. I was a kid playing hop scotch with my 7 other siblings on the front sidewalk when my Grandmother said while passing, “Don’t step on any bugs if you don’t have to, they were put here for a reason.” Thinking immediately that they never go to Church and we had to go to Sunday School all the time since it was just accross the street,why did she say that in particular. She said it because she meant it and she meant it because it was true. To this day i have never heard or felt anything more heart felt than those words my Grandmother sofly uttered.I wrapped my little mind around the fact she believed and i believed she believed. It was and still is my most fondest memory on lifes spiritual path. Thanks again, Reg

  13. Ken,

    Thanks for that. Very similiar with my dad. The reminder to look for expressions of love in other’s language instead of insisting on hearing it in our language was important.

    Boldly, Herb

  14. this was so powerful, ken. what a redeeming moment in that dimly-lit corner of the room.

    in the final few years of my marriage, i so longed to hear the words “i love you”… not just “i love you too”. it had gotten to where it was only said in response to me, but never on its own, never uninitiated. since then i find myself feeling the great value and worth of that statement when spoken to me completely unsolicitedly, unexpectedly. my heart believes it just a little more in those moments.

  15. Ken: Whether you realize it or not, at least your father is alive and able to show you his love. While my father was alive, I was never unsure that he loved me but yet there was no bond, no closeness. In fact, much of my live was filled with fear of him. Every morning I would hear, “where were you last night?” “What time did you come in?” and so on.

    Much of the problem was that I was not the son he would have me be. I went in my own direction always and so I deserved his wrath, but still. . .

    When I matured and was in a position to show him by my actions, he was gone. I will never hear from him “well done” until I see him in heaven, so Ken, rejoice in what your father has shown you and especially rejoice that he is here to interact with you.

    • Just want to clarify, as my blog indicated, my dad is not alive. He has been gone for several years and I do rejoice in the love he showed me. That was also a key element of the blog. That was why I encouraged people to read between the lines to see the non verbal expressions of love. Thank you for commenting.

  16. I wasn’t going to comment but after reading others, I think I might. Dad stories make me tear up. My pride says don’t share this, but my gut says someone needs to hear this. I hope you don’t mind?

    My childhood need to be loved by my Dad and wasn’t, manifested itself in very dark ways as a young adult for me. I remember hitting a bottom – I was traveling for work, and I was someplace I wasn’t supposed to be with someone who shouldn’t have been there – I’ll leave it at that. What I remember about that night was wanting to feel loved and having that need drive me to settle for something else. Before things got too out of hand, I heard a voice deep in my gut — “I love you more than he does. This isn’t love, what are you doing here?” — I didn’t realize yet that God can speak to us like that — I just knew that this guy had to leave and leave he did. I never forgot that night, how deep that need to be loved is, and where it can drive us if we aren’t careful.

    You shared this story in a video of yours — I remember the story about your daughter, I love, I love you, I love you, I am the love monster! — I cried again. And I understood who it was speaking to my heart.

    I have a birth father, but alcholism stole “daddy” — that I don’t have nor will I with him. Today, I have peace with that. One because of recovery programs through out the years, and two because I know that the Daddy who showed up in that hotel room all those years ago, more than meets my needs and my heart. I know too that those years of settling for a counterfiet have been forgiven and redeemed by Christ — and I’m thankful for that as well. I met my husband shortly after that night and we’ve been together ever since. God gave me a wonderful gift in him.

    As for making sure I tell others how much I love them, you bet… I know how important that is today. I tell my boys, if God were to line up all the boys in the world and tell me I could pick the two I wanted for myself, I’d pick them again and again.

    Great post Ken — thank you for sharing.

  17. My father, 85 and stricken with Parkinsons and Alzheimers, has never been one to voice his love to his children. He’s never been one to verbalize much of anything really. A WWII vet, wounded in battle; but we know nothing of his combat experiences. His feelings are just internalized, so no matter how much we, his sons, yearned to hear “I love you”, I think we knew that was never to be…that is until the last few months. My brothers and I have, for the past couple years, gone to our parents home to help put Dad to bed. Every night I would tell him, “I love you.” In response, Dad would usually just say “Thank you”, or “I appreciate you.” Lately though, Dad has occasionally said, “I love you too.” I didn’t have to have him say the words to know that he does love us, but to hear them was fulfilling. It felt good. Love is, of course, what it’s all about.

  18. Ken, your story reminds me of a memory of my own. My parents were divorced when I was a baby. For many years I didn’t know if my biological father loved me. As an adult, having a conversation with my sister, she told me my dad told her, he loved all of us girls. Just hearing the words brought tears to my eyes. For the last year and a half of my dad’s life, he lived in our home. I told him many times that I loved him, and I heard the words from him in return. I, like you, am a firm believer in telling the people in my life (family and friends alike)that I love them. I think we all need to hear those words. It doesn’t matter how old we get…Thanks for being you and bringing so much joy to those around you!!

  19. Hey, I just thought I’d let you know, some of us preachers out hear are still using the SCORRE method! Thanks for your influence in my life and ministry over the years. I LOVE YOU KEN!

  20. Dear Ken,
    I have a similar situation with my Mom. Growing up, she said the words, I love you, a lot, but I never felt love from her. Her actions spoke louder than words. I never truly doubted her love, but it never connected to me. I have tried to talk with her many times but she insists on defending herself instead of taking responsibility and apologizing. She insists that I’m the one who didn’t show her love and acceptance! Needless to say, we still have a strained relationship.
    God showed us His love by sending Jesus to die for us, His enemies(Colossians 1:20-21)!
    Romans 5:8 “God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”
    1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God because He laid down His life for us!”

    • The bottom line of all scripture is the Son of God making it crystal clear to us…. “I love you.” And what a profound way he demonstrated it.

  21. My dad is also from that school of not expressing. I remember sitting in a church workshop where we were to say the words, “I love you” to each other. I barely got the words out. He did not say them, but even then I never felt anything but love from him. As I have moved time forward, I can remember within the last 10 years him hugging me, once. I was quite surprised. It was at a family reunion and the absence of certain of his brothers and sisters helped that moment into being. And now when we see each other we shake hands as we usually do, but we hold it a little long and intentionally look at each other. I don’t really miss hearing those words from him mainly because over the years he has said them to me in his intense attention to my conversation. There is no wall or room in my parents’ house, but he has consistently communicated his love for me in so many non-spoken ways, I have no doubt of its’ existence and its’ depth. Thank you for your words.

  22. I was raised in a Christain family. My father was very strict. I was the only child. I was never told by my father he loved me. But the greatest gift he could have given me was to teach me about the Lord. He use to say actions speak louder than words. I believed he was an example of that. I never doubt his love for me. Some day I will join him and my mother. What a joy that will be.

  23. Where did your Dad get the sweatshirt? My Dad graduated from Gordon College, and he was about the same age. I’m wondering if they might have known each other. My Dad was also a prisoner of war for over 3 years. Well, if they knew each other,they are certainly together now and laughing about it and sharing old times. Blessings!

  24. This story about your father brought tears to my eyes. I came from a family that couldn’t say those 3 little words. We never told my parents or my own kids I Love You because we never said it. The day when I went into labor with my first son and he was the first grandchild I was at my parents house. My dad came home just as I was leaving to go to the hospital he hugged me and told me he loved me. That was so unexpected but it felt so great to hear. My first born was murdered and I only once told him I love him. Now I can’t say it to him except in my thoughts at night when I lay there thinking about him. Now I have found the words and tell my mom and my other son and my husband I LOVE YOU. That was what I told my dad too before he died. I have never forgotten that day and my fathers words to me. I miss dad and my son dearly but I look forward to the day I see them again. Love your shows you make me laugh so hard through the whole show. God bless you.

  25. So incredible! Just minutes ago my mom and I had a discussion about something similar to this. Not my father exactly but someone I love whose father never told him he loved him till alot later in his dads life….there just isn’t anything more important than the love our parents show us. What they do and say effects our lives as much as words and how they are said. We need those words for our own selfworth because if we don”t feel worthy enough for our parents love how can we feel anyone else really loves us. Keep that in your mind when you choke on the words and give yourself an excuse not to say them to your kids (say it to them no matter how old they are)

  26. Ken,when I was a kid – and even now, at times, I felt unloved (still do) not because my parents never said “I love you” because they always did. Even my alcoholic father, while he was drinking and when he sobered up.

    Why did/do I feel unloved, you ask? I was born disabled. I always felt left out, the 3rd wheel, a hardship on my family – a financial/emotional drain. A lot of resentment. I always felt like they say it cause its the thing to say.
    Growing up I felt extremely inadequate because my parents always held up my 3 sisters and 1 brother as examples – they went to college, they’re all married (well 2 of my sisters are divorced now), have kids, good jobs.

    All I ever wanted was love and acceptence. I finally found it in another state, with a man I’ve loved for 10 yrs I met online. And in the Arms of Jesus when my boyfriend lead me to the Lord.

  27. My dad told me he loved me many times growing up. He found the words to share his respect for me on specific character qualities. He made sacrifices and hard decisions to make sure we had the best, even though we were probably the poorest people we knew. As most jr and sr high age kids, I had plenty of ornery days. My father’s love hit me between the eyes when he kicked me out of the house for disrespecting my mother. I was 17. Because of the love and training from my childhood, I was prepared to deal with this experience.

    I think sometimes we discount the value of tough love in families.

    Dad’s been gone since 2002 and there are many many days when I wish I could share a thought or experience with him. I know he’s aware even if I cannot see him now.

  28. Ken,

    My eyes sting with the tears that fell from yours. I lost my mom at the young age of 9 and did not know my father until this past Spring. I was lovingly raised by my grandparents and they did their best to answer the few questions I had about my father. I had struggled for years with wanting to locate him but the fear of rejection always got in the way. It was a sermon I heard at Greenford Christian Church that spoke of granting grace to those who may not deserve it that prompted me to send a letter. I had located an address online several months before and I went ahead and sent a short factual letter. I received a response within the week and my heart was overjoyed. I had lived for thirty-four years believing that my father did not love or want me and all of a sudden I learn that this is not the case at all. Forgiveness is the greatest gift our Lord has given us, it has changed my life, it has given me a father. I have finally heard the words my heart has longed to hear from a man my soul has long to know.

    God Bless and Thank You.
    April Brinker

  29. I am late to the show here but I wanted to add to it. My father passed this fall at the age of 87. I know he was liked and tried to be a good man but when younger I felt he was sometimes a bit hard on us kids when we worked at his business. We had to be so much better workers then the others he hired. Then I began meeting some of the almost 200 people who showed up for the funeral.

    Guys who told me they would have been in prison if my dad hadn’t stepped in and taught them not only to work but to work HARD! Others who told me about how he helped with housing when times were bad, forgiving rent rent due or offering to let them work for rent. And through out it all the wonderful sense of humor and positive attitude he was able to pass on to people.

    The last year was rough, dad’s mind was fading. Sometimes he had to be reminded who you were if you left the room for a few minutes but when his grown grandchildren came in the room it seemed like everything focused and he was able to ask them questions and keep a line of conversation going. He really didn’t need to say “i love you” in those exact words. What he said to me and my children was “I don’t know how this happened, how you kids turned out so well. I was just brawler who wanted just to fight every Saturday night.”

    He found my mother and he found God. He educated his children in how to be Christian and we taught ours. Like ripples in a pond his soul now lives on in us.

    Thanks Dad.

    • Stan, I enjoyed reading your comment. It made me wish I had met your dad. You learned what it took me a long time to learn, that is to read between the lines to see the “I love you.” I hope you will re enforce the message for the people you love. My challenge to every follower of Christ is to follow His example and say the words, “I love you.” Excellent comment and wonderful tribute to your dad. Thank you.

  30. Ken, thanks for sharing your heart. I read your note “My father’s love – written on a wall” while at work. I had a hard time keeping my composure while sitting at my office desk, sucking up the tears and the runny nose.

    Like you, I wait painstakingly to hear those words each time I call my dad, and in the rare times he calls me. Especially now, since he is in stage 3 of lung cancer and has become increasingly weak, I keep thinking he’s finally going to say, “I love you” even if it is in passing as we say goodbye on the phone. Nothing.

    My wife keeps trying to get me to look “between the lines” or as you would say, “on a wall” as my dad never learned to express love in words throughout his life either.

    I don’t have any accomplishments as recognized as yours, but I keep hoping the same as you, that I can see in him that he is proud of me and that he DOES love me.

    Maybe, as I keep thinking he needs to say it first, I just need to be the one to say “I love you” in hopes of opening the door for him to respond likewise. I guess it’s just that I want to hear him say it first because he is Dad.

    I don’t end a conversation with my kids or wife without saying “I love you” in closing. Thanks to my wife for teaching me the importance of doing so.

  31. Ken,

    Nine years ago my father was not expected to live more than a year. We made all the funeral and cemetary arrangements as I was employed by a funereal/cemetary association at the time. It was the hardest thing I had ever done up to that point in my life.

    I was over fourty years old when my father uttered the words “I Love You”. I always knew it at some level, but he ever said it out loud until then.

    For the past year my father has been at deaths door. It’s been a long journey and eventually my sister even got to hear the words I love you.

    A few days before dad went to be with the Lord I went to see him. He was very weak and could no longer speak loud enough to hear him. I leaned over him and looked into his face. I asked if he was headed for heaven and with all his strength he grinned! Then tears filled his eyes and he mouthed the words “I Love You Son”. Those are the last words he spoke to me two weeks ago. I miss him but I know he is home in heaven and I will see him again!

    Cherish the time spent with a loved one as they prepare for the end of this life’s journey and enter into the next eternal one through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

  32. Thank you for “My father’s love”. Needed to hear it…needed to feel it right along with you. Glad you aren’t hampered by words like your Dad. Sometimes those of us with word smithing abilities have to say things for those who have no words at all. Keep on, Brother!

  33. Ken, this story about your Dad really hit me between the eyes. I too always wanted to hear those words from my Dad and I felt over the years that I probably distanced myself from him because I always wondered if he truly loved me. I can’t say there was a wall of pride, but I did come to understand that he did love me, but was one of those men who was taught to not show emotion. As he became older and experienced a double bypass, he started to say the words if I would say them first. It did help, but I always wondered if he truly meant them. He is gone now as well and I miss him terribly. I am glad that men of our generation have learned to be more compasionate and tell their families they love them verbally as well as thru their actions. Thanks for sharing your story.

  34. Ken: thank you! Yes, there are many of us, especially Boomers (no, not Dave!) who feel the same way. I realize how fortunate I am to have a mom who never fails to tell me she loves me when I am with her at the nursing home. And my dad, like yours, told me he loved me by feeding and clothing me. I look forward to Heaven, when the two of us will be able to tell each other “I love you” with none of the deep emotional hurt.

  35. Ken,
    This is excellent…one of the best yet. I still try and tell my “kids” I love them every day and especially every evening. My father-in-law and mother-in-law could of been Michelle’s dad. My husband is 51 and since his alcoholic father is dead and he has not seen or spoken to his mom since his dad’s funeral almost 14 years ago!!!!! The chance of him ever hearing I love you is very small. Just yesterday he was driving around a very strange way and trying to get out of a parking lot before we even entered the store…when I asked why it was because he thought he saw his mother! She lives within five minutes of us! For the 1st 10 years of our marriage he would call her every year on his birthday and beg her to say Happy Birthday to him. Instead she would say things like it was not his birthday. For many years she also said, to him and to me; the only reason he is here is one of two reasons. 1) He was crapped on a stump and hatched by a crow or 2) She was so drunk she did not know any better. She has hated him and he has been sadder than sad for 51 years. It is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hard for him to be loving and every holiday is so hard. I would mention to everyone reading this to please, please say I love you. Do it for the future generations. This is such a hard cycle to break and the effects are so positive or devastating depending on what you say or do not say. The power or words and actions are so important.

  36. Ken,
    I just read your post on your father’s love. My father, also, was a man of few words of love. During his last year of life, as I left him after a visit, I would tell him “I love you.” His reply was “me, too.” That was as close as I got to the words. But, it was enough. I miss my dad so much. But I remember those two words that he said to me and cherish them.

  37. This touched the deepest part of my soul. My Dad died when I was 14 and I’ve often wonder if he loved me and would be proud of what I have done with my life. I’m not sure. I have resolved though that my kids will not have those doubts, they will know, I will make sure they do as well as my grand-kids.
    Thanks for sharing this great letter it has touched me in so many ways. God bless and again, Thank you, bp

    • Bill, you are so welcome. I am sure your dad loved you dearly and would have been very proud of you. Have a blessed Christmas. Your resolution guarantees that your children and grandchildren will have a happy new year.

  38. Ken that generation was so proud and hard. I too longed for the kiss of my dad and to hear the words I love. I thought I had to compete with my siblings for the affection of my father and mother. The funny thing was they were proud of me but hugs and kisses were not things they had learned. I told my 10 year old son 21… years ago that I understand him not wanting a kiss from dad but that I needed one from him. To this day we never part without a hug and kiss and those words “I love you.” I heard those words from my dad the last day I saww him alive. When leaving I gave him a hug and kiss (He did not like that but allowed me to do it) I said “I love you” and he said “I Love you.
    too.”

    Funny thing that this man raised a son who was trained to give hugs and kisses by a lack. Pretty good reverse training.

    Ken may you and your family be blessed this Christmas and always. “I love you man.” That’s OK I don’t want anything.

    Paul

    • Paul, Appreciate your comment and your declaration of love. We men need to learn that it is okay to say the words, I love you. Read these comments and you will see how much the words are needed. Love you too.

  39. All I want to say is that I wasn’t assured of my dad’s love because of that I did anything to get his approval. After my mum died I found Jesus and I started to pray for healing between my dad and me. Two years before he died I noticed change in his behaviour and now I know he loved me and appreciated all i did for him and my mum. Only Jesus’ love can do that.

    I’m so glad you could see all your dad had been collecting about you. It shows his love and pride for you.

  40. I definetly can relate to your story. I and my dad have had a very rocky and at times physical relationship since my brother committed suicide when I was only 14. The problem has been that I remind everyone of my brother so much that I feel at times it is a curse cause you can see it peoples eyes and even some of his closest friends don’t want me around cause it hurts them to much to bring up the raw emotions. I understand this cause at times it is the same way for me. This is one of the reasons why I chose the path I did not out of rebellion but out of hurt from not knowing where to turn. People kept telling me to turn to God but I didn’t know how and besides I felt God was responsible for taking my brother and now causig me the very pain I didn’t know how to deal with.Long story short I have rededicated my life to Christ and have been in ministry for over 8 years and have had to stop due to health concerns. I am afraid my past is catching up to me and I can’t afford to get ther help I need. The medicines are now affecting my memorie and before long I won’t remember my name even and so I know I don’t have much time but I am just so beat down that I9 may never hear the very words I want to hear,or by the time I do I wont be able to respond.I praise God that you were able to hear those words even if it wasn’t by the lips.I hope someday maybe,but I have forgiven him and everyone else cause I want to go to my grave hopefully rteleasing everyone that I have been holding in bondage so that they can be free.Best wishes for you and your family this holiday season.

    • Steve, Your comment moved me deeply. I don’t believe that God is done with you yet and I certainly want you to know that even just reading your comment has blessed me greatly. None of us know how much time we have left so all we can do is follow your example and make the best of every day. God bless you. and I pray that you will have a blessed Christmas and new year. I guarantee that you have touched many lives and you are loved.

  41. You story about you and your dad brought tears to my eyes and make me vow to share “I love You” with my son. I’m not sure I’ve every really told him that. Thanks, my friend. I love you!

  42. Hi Ken, I can definitely relate to your story, mine is quite similar. But instead of sharing my story (boring, even to me! 8) I’d like to share the name of a book I just got through reading this morning called “I’m Proud of You” by Tim Madigan that tells the story of a man who wanted desperately to hear his father say those words. He tells that story and more as he relates his burgeoning friendship and correspondence with Fred Rogers aka Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Just an excellent read and an insight into Fred Rogers and what a gift to the world he really was. But the book is so much more than that. If you get a chance to read it have lots of Kleenex handy.
    Love you and your humor Ken. What a gift to the world you are, too! Mark

  43. WOW! We often think people such as yourself are excempt from “heart” trouble, you’ve proven us wrong.

    I didn’t have much of a relationship with my Dad till his later years, when he renewed his relationship with God.Then the preacher in him came out and expressions of love flowed freely, he made me feel cherished, which he had never done before. So, I shall cherish those few days with him for the rest of my life.
    Thanks for sharing
    pat

  44. Growing up I lived with my grandparents, and as you might expect there was quite the generation gap. He never really said those 3 magic words either. We argued alot about sports. He would support me and come to my events if it was band (he taught me how to play trombone) or cross country, but he did not like Football. On the morning of the last football game of the year in 8th grade, I let him have it because he said he wasn’t coming to my game. That night the game started and the weather was miserable…45 degrees and raining. I made the first tackle of that game, and only one person cheered. I looked over and there was grandpa, soaked to the bone with rain dripping off his cowboy hat.

  45. Hi Ken,
    Thanks for sharing your story, needing to here that your father loved you. It never seizes to amaze me, even as adults, how those words mean so much to each and every human being. I too longed to hear those words~my parents had divorced when I was a baby. I remember my sister telling me one time(I was already an adult) that she had a conversation with my dad and he told her that he loved each one of us(I have two sisters). I cried like a baby, hearing those words. Before my dad died, I did get to hear the words that I longed to hear from him. I decided long ago, while raising our own two daughters, that those words were important for me to say~and for them to hear. We still carry that tradition on with our grandchildren, telling them every chance we get that we love them~and that they have an awesome God who loves them even more than we do. God bless you and your family this Christmas and throughout the New Year!! Thanks Ken for all you do, and for being who you are…

  46. I remember the very spot I was the first time my dad said he loved me. I was away at college and 19 years old. I don’t recall anything else about the phone call. But at the end of the call my dad said those amazing words “I love you”. It came totally out of the blue and I have no idea what prompted it. I told him I loved him too and we hung up. My heart soared and I literally jumped up and down and danced around the room with tears in my eyes. I kept repeating the words “my dad said he loves me, my dad says he loves me!!” My roommates must have thought I was nuts. He may have said the words before that, but if he did I just don’t remember it. It is amazing how important those words are from your dad. He still doesn’t say it much. Usually only after I do. But that is one of my greatest memories. Thanks for sharing Ken. How I wish your dad could have said those words to you here. What a great moment that will be when he says it to you in heaven. I can just see you jumping up and down, excited as a kid at Christmas. How awesome it will be!!

  47. Ken, I cried as I read your story. I grew up with an alcoholic father. He was also addicted to RX drugs. There was a lot of anger and absolutely no one was allowed to show emotion. I tend to be extremely soft hearted and would cry easily, which usually hurtful remarks from my dad. Until the day he died I never seemed to be able to do anything right. I did, however, get some much needed help in my younger years and made sure that I made ammends with my dad b/4 I stood over his grave and would regret not doing it. My dad did respond to that and finally started to hug me in his later years and say he loved me, with a health dose of criticism mixed in at times, but I at least knew that I had done all I could do to make things right. I am so grateful for the Father’s love. There are still scars, but I know know that I am loved beyond by measure by the ONE who matters most. Thanks for your story.

    • Carol, I continue to be amazed at the pain addiction has caused in so many lives. It saddens me the potential that is destroyed. I am glad that your dad was eventually able say those important words. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  48. Thank you for sharing. I am still wiping the tears away, because I can relate to your story – although I am a ‘girl’ of 65. My Dad died when I was a baby, and my Mum when I was 30, so looking back I don’t remember any “I love you’s”, but my Mum looked after me well, was a good friend, and both her and other family took great care of me, when Mum had to work. I guess we all need that approval that we are OK. My Heavenly Dad has called me “His precious little lamb”, which also broke me up for some time. Again, thanks for sharing. God bless Sue

    • Sue, I am so grateful that you were touched by my story. As I read these comments, I am encouraged even more about how important it is to say and hear the words “I love you.”

  49. Oh gosh – I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after reading this story about you and your dad.

    You just changed my life by making me realize there are many people who love me. And though the words have not been verbalized, the love is clearly there.

    Thank you, Ken.
    I love you too.
    Saralee