A love letter from Dad
By Jonathan Howes
Over 15 years ago, I received a handwritten letter from my dad. I know it has been 15 years, because I still have the letter today. It means that much to me. The letter is dated February 7, 2000.
To receive a handwritten letter from my dad was highly unusual. I had not received one prior to February 7, 2000, and I have not received one since. The letter was not written on a card bought at a store, nor was it written on fancy stationary. In fact, it was written on an unlined, white piece of copy paper, and it came in a plain white, letter-sized envelope.
Now, I’ve received packages and envelopes in the mail from my dad before and since. When I was in college, my dad would send me a check in the mail, but he would never include a letter with the check. He would simply fold a plain white piece of paper around the check. As an adult, if I have ever left anything at my parent’s house, my dad would mail it back to me, but he would never include a letter or even a short post it note. Even when I’ve received a birthday card from my parents, my mom would sign my dad’s name with the card being from both of them.
So, to receive a page-long, handwritten letter from my dad was very fascinating. I was actually nervous reading it the first time. I have since read the letter hundreds of times. In the letter my dad shared with me that his dad, my grandfather, did not verbally communicate his feelings and appreciation for my dad. He said that it was the way that men of my grandfather’s generation were supposed to act. In their day and age, men were encouraged to act in a stoic, macho way.
Because my grandfather did not communicate his love and feelings toward my dad, it made it really hard for my dad to communicate his love and feelings toward me. My dad and I do not normally share the words, “I love you”, with each other. We want to, but we can never seem to get the words out of our mouths.
So, in the letter, my dad wrote that he has always loved me and did not want me to doubt it in any way. I already knew that my dad loved me. He has shown it through his actions on countless occasions. My dad is a strong believer that actions speak louder than words.
But for me to read the words from my dad, “I love you”, meant the world to me. Communicating our love and feelings is not something that comes naturally for most men. So, if you are a dad, I want to encourage you to share your love and appreciation to your kids. They probably already know that you love them because of your actions, but they would sure love to hear it. Our words are powerful. And hearing the words, “I love you”, from their dad will mean the world to them.
We actually have a wonderful example in the Bible of God, the Father, sharing his love and approval for his son, Jesus. It says in Matthew 3:16-17, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Dads, let’s not only show our kids how much we love them but let’s tell them. If telling them in person seems too difficult, let me encourage you to write them a letter. Write them a love letter from dad. They will probably hold onto it for a lifetime.
Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road | Loganville, GA 30052 and the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655.
Phone: (770) 466-3159