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Encouraging Dads to Be Heroes (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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June 17, 2021 6:00 am

Encouraging Dads to Be Heroes (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 17, 2021 6:00 am

Pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker provides great insights to encourage fathers to strengthen their relationships with their kids. She provides solid advice on communication, listening, guiding, and spending time with your kids. (Part 1 of 2)

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Good veterans aren't perfect and that's okay but there are ways you can grow every day. Focus on the Family seven traits of effective parenting assessment gives parents an honest look at their unique strings plus some areas that could use a little help every mom and dad can help raise the next generation of healthy children and responsible children in this assessment will help get you started. Take the assessment of traits that's trade, but when he needs to understand every time his child five or 15 or even 25 walks into a room and that is their child saying to him if he could please please please dad look at me if she can. Let's Dr. Meg Meeker talking about the importance of fathers and what it means to be a hero to your kids and I'm really looking forward to hearing this recorded conversation today it's appropriate timing. Of course, with Father's Day coming up this Sunday and welcome to this episode of Focus on the Family with your host focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly I'm John Fuller, John. It's so many ways fathers are marginalized in the culture today often when we do a broadcast speaking about women and the challenges they face. That will get criticism from people saying how can you always put men down and let me just say there's enough of that going on in the culture and we don't want to do that. Instead, we want to lift dads up and Bob's frankly and we firmly believe in the power of a father. None of us is perfect. We all have work to do in an area I'm always thinking of ways I can be a better dad for my two sons today were going to hear from one of our favorite guest Dr. Meg Meeker about the incredible mission of the father and what he needs to now yeah and of the influence of a dad cannot be overstated. And Dr. Meeker has written about it in her book, you've got this unlocking the hero dad within and she's been a pediatrician for about 35 years she and her husband Walt have four grown children. And as we listen to this recent conversation Dr. Meeker describes her own father.

My father was in my life and many people who read strong father-son daughters 10 years ago or in the past 10 years that I owe. Your father was perfect. Your father was my father wasn't my father was a bit eccentric. He was very quiet didn't have a lot of friends but I admired him and looked up to him and I knew that my father always believed and I don't know how I knew this, but he communicated to me that I could be into anything I wanted.

And back in the 60s and 70s. Remember when I have a lot of women's you know feminism growing so forth, and my father really in one sentence changed my life and I will share that is to very quickly because he was very instrumental in the father work that I do now which I been doing for 10 years when I was 16 I just I was in a go to medical school.

That was it. You know, get out of my way.

Everybody I don't know why I just decided I applied a lot of medical schools my senior year in college and I got if I applied to 12 schools.

I got 12 rejection letters, and I felt my life is over at 21, and I thought well I do not have no plan B and I devoted everything five years to get into medical school and I came home one day after a job to clear my head and I was living back at my parents house with no 21-year-old wants to be doing even at that time I overheard my dad talking to a friend in the other room on the telephone and I heard him send he was talking. I stopped outside the door because I heard him on the phone and I heard him say my name and so being a woman. Yes, I just put my ears a lot of men would do that and sliced my father's say yes yes my daughter Meg will be going to medical school in the next couple of years and I can't tell you the sensation that came over my mind and my body and I thought it's a reality. My becoming a doctor is a reality because my dad said.

So there is that concrete for it was huge it was life changing and I can still hear him saying it now that was over 30 some years ago I went on I picked myself up.

I did my applications again. I reapplied and sure enough I got in and you know history. I'm a physician now let me ask you though because some people listening did not have a great relationship with her dad there even saying how could you even feel that I'm in. My father never said a good thing about me. Why did it make such an impact on you describe tell you why because fathers have an authority in a child's life that has A, and a father uses that authority for good or ill and he when he does something well even if it's just a little bit. Well, it's enormous. In a child's eyes and when he hurts you, even if it's a little hurt its enormous and a child's eyes, so the pains that we get from our fathers are huge but the accolades that we get from our fathers are equally huge and I will tell women list might dad is not perfect that my dad had his own demons he thought and I could've written a book talking about all the mistakes that my father did, but at some point in my life I chose to capitalize and focus on the positives because here's the thing. Any father can be a great dad to his child. He can be in jail and be a great dad to his child.

He can write that child letters because every child wants desperately for their fathers to say something positive and want to father says something positive to a child, that child hangs on it.

Let me ask you this because the what I see is a denigrating of fathers fathers. I think we ourselves even see us as a not a capital father course we see ourselves as a lowercase father we have inhibitions we don't feel gifted. We don't feel taught or did do well with us.

So how are we supposed to be a good father. So we have a lot of apprehension, insecurity, of course, how does it bed look beyond all that and still aim to be a good father. Here's how our culture has done a number on fathers and women have done a number on fathers not intentionally but we've all gotten swept up in championing women over the past 30 years and hang onto an all women's college, 1970. I get it. I get it, you know, we wanted equality of everything but what has happened is we've thrown good men into orbit in their homes and we can no longer do that.

But this is how any father when I say any father out there can be a great dad to his child.

This is what I mean if he can understand how his child sees him then he will parent very differently and so what I'm describing to you as I talk about listening to my father and that conversation is as a child is a 20 when your child when I heard my father say that it changed my life.

And interestingly, years later, I told my father about the conversation he said remember saying that's typical of us that you saying that to me when I was 21. Help me write books when I was 40 and 50 and 55 help me get up on stage in front of thousands of people and give lectures and he kind of looked at me quizzically. They were talking about what a father understands what he looks like behind his child's eyes. His life will never be the same. So here's the easy part. Don't listen to what your wives are telling you wife like me who were well-intentioned but we we are really controlling my comes to parenting one of you notice that we want to tell you I'm getaway thing do we swoop in, we swoop and go. No no no no no I got it, thanks. If I need you to talk to the kids about that. I'll let you know we started pushing what I've done it with my own husband. But what we need to do is say wait a minute I'm a pediatrician children need their fathers engaged in their lives, even if the wives don't think the fathers a great husband. There is something great that you have that your child wants that is so well said Maggie. Let's apply this research to it but I want to come behind and talk about gender differences having a little boy having a little girl and are there differences in those needs, but hit the research.

What does a father provide to the household and to those children in terms of their success, their ability their future lacrosse all demographics socioeconomics and all strata fathers improve every aspect of a child's life. If he is living in the home and there a lot of parents about no no no no you to know my dad my dad was horrible but listen all the research out there says that if a dad is in the home presents present. It doesn't say if he's a really good dad really good listener. He's a very good communicator if he's very up.

It doesn't say that if father is present in the home.

A child is less likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem. If a father is present in the home, the, the child is far more likely to graduate high school go on to college and graduate school more likely to a father who is engaged with his child and the time is six months old on is more likely to attest higher on IQ tests 23 soap fathers impact kids under six months old until they treat they test higher on IQs.

Kids are less likely to get involved in sex, drugs and alcohol in high school, they're less likely to end up in jail with a father and home and a lot of parents say yeah our mothers will say yeah you know my husband I say yes I do. I've met him know you have yes I have. I've met every type of father you can imagine.

And I'm telling you, you may disagree with him, and you may not like what he does but your child needs something from him and is a good mother. You owe it to your child to allow that man to give it to your child and for the child to enjoy it. That's what good parents do. That's hard for women who carry a lot of animosity towards men even towards their husbands will and I want to get to that, but I do want to cover the gender difference.

So with having little boy little girl. How does a dad father than differently or should, of course, he shut because of different people really owe you not tell us what you know you know it's a girl therefore is a great friend of mine fabulous book why gender matters, it's a fabulous book and it really talks about anybody that's parented more than one child, and particularly in a more than one sex object. You know from the time a child six months old are very different. They just come out boys, moving in building and smashing searcher girls cannot staring at you for going through a moving object in front of an infant boy in front of an infant girl. The boy stares at it you put a face in front of an infant boy and infant girl and the girl stares at the face and the boy just can't.

What is more, of course they are. And so they're very different and wonderfully so we should celebrate the differences in maleness and femaleness in and it's so wonderful fathers parent boys very differently than the parent their daughters, fathers tend to be harder on their sons.

Mothers tend to be harder on their donors because your son as a dad is a mini you and you can push them and you gonna make him man up, you know, and mothers push their daughters, mothers protect their sons, fathers protect their daughters so well said. I love that I can remember one time Chris ripped two boys. We didn't have a girl we were blessed with a girl called for adoption that might be the way but the point of it as we had friends come over just a couple and their two girls were left with a babysitter so there at our house and our boys are bouncing off the walls and in the run everywhere, poo poo poo each other with rubber band guns and all kinds of thing and I can remember this friend said to us is this what having boys is like of these normal boys reasonable.

They said while this is so different than the girls we have our girls just want to sit with those in talk are you kidding how to get through that the husband does that happen that his three daughters and a son.

And I'll never forget the first time my son. He was probably under two and he jumped over a couch. I thought what has happened to our home. You know, this is it. But it's it's very dim but but the differences are wonderful but yes fathers, parent, sons and daughters very differently and they should I go into that of my father daughter book and you know we are all at this table old enough to know adult men who are still looking for that stamp of approval. The blessing from their father. We all know the enormous impact. A father makes on our lives want him to make on our lives and so we just need to say it and deal with it if were going to live healthy lives. You're listening to Focus on the Family at our guest today is Dr. Meg.

She's written a book you got this unlocking the hero dad with your copy. Just check the episode notes for the Meg you said something a moment ago. I want to come back as well. That was the bad experience when you look at even the feminist movement which you talked about being a part of quickly just mentioned it, but I want to come back so that I know I know but you know being in the 70s in college in the 70s and going to med school want to go med school. At the time when you pry had a lot of headwinds because it was a male dominated Russia and I just want to ask you when it comes to those experiences were women of heaven a bad father relationship is a lot of that animosity as they grow older and go to college and develop attitudes toward men made with her husband is not the guy that they really thought he would be does it is rooted in that father really originally very much so.

And I believe that Jesus calls us into absolute truth and truth in our relationships truth in our history, truth, and what we wanted in truth and our needs and what we didn't get and look at the broken world and fathers are broken and the relationships with her children are broken and so every person carries father wounds and I used to say when I was talking about my father daughter book that every woman takes one man to her grave and that's her dad for good or ill. The reality is that women who experience pain in the relationships with their fathers who don't recognize that pain who don't reconcile that pain carry that forward into the relationships with their husbands and their a lot of women who have intimacy problems with their husbands because of pain with their fathers and my point is women if you want to enjoy the rest of your lives.

You might enjoy your family and your marriage with your husband you got to face up to the pains that you had with different pains with my father that I reconciled and I reckon I was fortunate to reconcile them with my father in his later years of life, and this is what Christ calls us to do, but what our culture has led women to do is this. If you were hurt by golly, you just turn around and you use that power for good. That energy and you go out and you beat them at their game men that it that's what we were taught the 70s and 80s, and I remember listening to Gloria Steinem say things like that. Listen, if a man is the surgeon you go be a better surgeon and and whatever he can do you can do better and go beat him to gender warfare and work it still going.

It's still going, but we lead women leads them to a dark place, it doesn't lead them anywhere healthy and what we end up doing is isolating from man isolating from fathers and from husbands and taking our kids with us. When you look at it and it's interesting to think of it in those terms. When you look at the church.

Yes, particularly Howard has the world seeped into women's thinking within Christianity were those boundaries have they bought into some of the worldly perspective.

Maybe with good reason because her husband's have been not good and what what is a Christian woman respond with well I know and and I will confess my ignorance here because I don't read a lot of a lot of Christian women stopped. I don't know that Christian women have added as the church is adequately taught us how to in a healthy way reconcile pain with men because we either tell women what your role is doing this. Of. I learned as a wife. Your role is to submit to your husband and just sort of take a big deep breath and pray about it and God will be your husband will help you endure your marriage think Jesus wants us to do that and then we have on the other extremely happy. Okay well you know what Jesus wants to empower you, he's gifted you he's championing you he is your husband so go out and set the world on fire, but the truth of the matter is women really don't want to do either of those things Jesus wants us to do. Do either. Jesus wants us in healthy intimate relationship with man and he wants us to embrace her femininity and and all that means any wants us to embrace our husbands masculinity and all that it means and is confused as our culture is about what is masculinity of what is femininity, even those in the transgender movement like femininity because you know transgender men want to become feminine and feminine want to become men so we just don't know how to reconcile all of this, the Christ can women in the church. I know have pain from their relationship with their dads that they have brought into their marriages that they don't even recognize manner. Their husbands are dealing with it, they are dealing with it and Christ says face it, deal with it so I can free you up to have a healthy wonderful relationship with your husband and how you really lead families to fruitful relationships.

Dr. Meeker along those lines talk to the dead who is God, an older child, son or daughter, and he knows he's the reason for the distance of the relationship he made some mistakes. What what is something he can do to start building the bridge so we can have a healthy relationship with his kids and they can have healthy relationships a great question John, thank you for asking it because I deal with that quite a lot. So many men call in and say I am estranged from my adult daughter. She's 35.

I haven't spoken to her since she was 17 she wants nothing to do with me and I got it because I really made a lot of mistakes and she won't answer my text. She won't answer my calls, what I do and I say here's the deal in in any father child relationship even if that child is 50 years old. That child perceives you as the grown-up in the relationship. The one to take the lead so you don't wait for your adult child delete you lead your always the leader, and I have a whole chapter on your delete or not the coach I expected my father to still lead when he was 80 years old. You know why I don't know I just did because I was always a kid so you take the initiative to reach out to your your child and you persevere and you persevere and you never, ever, ever give up because this is what you need to know every child, son or daughter matter how old they are, wants and needs reconciliation with their father because of the child wounds those wounds happened when that son or daughter was a child and you were an adult so they will always feel like a child will not.

An adult won't so they are motivated to reconcile with you, but their anger and contempt that's gotten so statistically encased around their heart has to break down before they're willing to engage in.

So that's why you never give up, but you constantly lead and you go at them and then you you come to them and say look, I really messed up and I really want to reconcile with you, and I really need God's help and your help will you help me know how to help you heal from what I did to you and I will do my best to stick with you along the way, here's the thing a child daughter of a dad who has wounded her is gonna be the most forgiving person. That man will ever meet.

It won't be his wife. It'll be his daughter because the daughter wants healing with her dad and then will be the sun because the sun wants healing with his father so they will come around, but it may take years because they have built up this wall around them. At such anger.

So you just need to keep traumatic and wrong, never, never, never give up anything. If he needs to get on a plane and show up at their house. Do it Meg. Let me pull a little further into the man's thinking because so many dads and I want to know if you agree with this or disagree, please do either, but as men we often when we are emotionally wounded.

We hide we do it in marriage, and I think we doing parenting yes when we don't feel appreciated and respected. Whatever might be many men simply go to the corner emotionally maybe not physically were involved were engaged but not in the same way. Is that true and how does a woman better understand that because I see women responded differently. Women typically want to get to it. Let's talk through tell me what's going on and they want to reconcile what you said even daughters.

I think that something about the women's brain wiring. There are more willing more engaged, more verbal men when they are wounded in some way the backup because we don't want to be embarrassed. We don't want to be disrespected and so just check out yes I think there's one more thing I think that and I seen this in my husband. I think the kinder, the man, the more he hides his feelings, and I think that man to don't want to feel because they're afraid of the anger comes up, it can be overwhelming and there much bigger than everybody in the house and and my husband said I you know when you come at me and you're trying to get me angry. I just have to go away because I can't be that angry in front of you pushing buttons exactly.

So men for our good hide and when a man hides his heard a woman understands is at as coldness and distance and lack of understanding and lack of compassion and it's really quite the opposite. It's interesting, I find that high school boys often have a harder time getting over broken relationships than the girls do because girls talk about the boys don't.

But back to the husband who hides his feelings because he so wounded fathers get their feelings hurt very deeply by teenagers particular teenage girls dad comes to hug his adorable 13-year-old who always loved to sit on her dad's lap and hug her and now she stands there like a telephone pole with spikes all over her and he tries to hug her and she repels him and he says what's happened and he goes away so he doesn't hug her because he said clearly.

She doesn't want to be hugged anymore right away. For years, which I think the know know know what she's saying is that I don't feel very good about myself. This is horrible.

Please don't take me personally but he says will you just told me don't want to be hug things so very differently. What fathers need to know when they are quiet in their homes and their wives are telling them they don't feel, and that they are distant in their cold and there disengaged. Is this your child is screaming at you every single day. Dad please come out. I need to dad what ever you have please give it to me.

I need to. That is so important because the wife won't tell the father that the husband not because she's mad because he's not doing his job right is not helping her out and engaging with the kids, and what's wrong. He's back in orbit from the report card. Yes, and he's going I just don't know how to do it is I don't know what you people want, you know, you tell me you don't want me and so I orbit the home and all you do is complain. But what he needs to understand this every time his child whether he's five or 15 or even 25 walks into a room and dad is there. That child is saying to him if he could please please please dad look at me, give me what she can and if a father can understand that his child always needs that his parenting will turn hundred and 80 and that's my job. I feel as a pediatrician is to scream that to fathers from the rooftops. We want to back there and we need to be back and that's the key Dr. breadmaker. I've got some more questions for you, but we have run out of time and incredibly, this is flown by. I want to come back next time and ask you some practical questions for dads you have in the book 3 questions we need to know those kinds of things so knish they wanted us to look at what will be sure to check the episode. The link to Dr. Meeker's great book you've got this unlocking the hero dad within written by our guest today, Dr. breadmaker.

We also have a CD or a download of today's broadcast and it's really worth listening to again so you can unpack more these things were. Maybe even shirt in a small group setting, and I hope you'll consider supporting Focus on the Family to help us impact more families for Christ if you can make a monthly donation today will say thank you by sending a copy of this excellent book to you. If you're unable to make an ongoing commitment at this time would appreciate a one time and of course will be happy to send you that book as well donate generously as you can today 800 K and the word family on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family plan to be with us next time. As we continue the conversation with Dr. breadmaker. Once again help you and your family thrive in Christ here asking people to define the word appreciate it's like when something goes up in value that's telling someone they did a good job Focus on the Family invite you to give a gift, appreciate when you give a non-cash gift of stocks, bonds or mutual funds. You will avoid capital gains tax deduction and help families thrive for generations to come.

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