Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentines Day. These “Hallmark holidays,” deliberately designed to push greeting cards in America are now a social norm. When these days roll around, dads, moms, and those “in a relationship,” appreciate (dare I say, expect) some sort of acknowledgment. How can you show your father you care and avoid the cliches and make Father’s Day really count? If you know your dad’s primary love language, you’re halfway there.
In his book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Gary Chapman suggests that each person has one primary and one secondary way to express and experience love. He calls these expressions, “love languages.” By observing how your father expresses love towards others, you can learn his love language, then show your love exactly how he likes to receive it.
For dads that like receiving gifts, avoid giving a gift just for the sake of giving. Put some real thought into it. Does he have a collection that you can add to? Would the latest gadget help him enjoy a hobby he loves? Maybe he needs some cash put towards a holiday he’s been planning. Chances are, he’s already told you what he wants. I just hope you were listening.
Fathers who value quality time enjoy undivided attention. No, he does not want to ride shotgun you while you run errands. Yes, you must put your phone away during dinner. When he invites you to go fishing or over just to watch tv, go and don’t complain. Give 100% to show him how much he means to you.
Acts of Service
A dad who values acts of service might rarely say the words, “I love you;” but he does his best to make sure that you have what you need. These dads sacrifice. They hustle. They leave money in your car in case you run low on gas. Take time this Father’s day to return his love by putting in work. Maybe he needs you to clear out the garage; to help him install a vegetable garden; or to fix up his old hobby car. The warm feeling you get afterward from having put his needs before your own, is a bonus.
The latest scientific research suggests that touch is good for our health. But something happens in the teenage years. The number of hugs we give our dads diminish as we try to show our independence. If you are lucky to be with your father on Father’s Day, give him a hug. And this time, be the last one to let go. He’ll appreciate it more than he’ll let on.
Words of Affirmation
Dads who value words of affirmation will always say, “I love you,” knowing the impact of words on our feelings. This Father’s Day, don’t stop at “I love you,” written in a greeting card. Say”thank you” out loud so that he and everyone can hear it.
I challenge everyone to give words of affirmation this Father’s Day, regardless of your father’s preferred love language. Tell the dads, grandads, uncle-dads, and husband-dads in your lives exactly what they mean to you. For everyone appreciates sincere, kind words of appreciation spoken from the heart. Those who have lost their fathers know well enough that the day will come when only photos and memories are left. When that day comes, you’ll be glad that you spoke those words.