Yesterday, Jeff and I and our two kids were hustling to catch a flight to Colorado, when we all just…stopped. In the area where people routinely wait for incoming travelers, were a mom and three kids. But their large, red-and-black, lovingly-made poster-board signs were anything but routine.
“HAS ANYONE SEEN OUR INCREDIBLE DAD?” asked one.
“DAD, YOU’RE MR. INCREDIBLE!” spelled out the other two… along with a series of statements about what made this father such a superhero to his kids and his wife. And men, these statements are a profound road map to WHY the woman and children in YOUR life think you’re a superhero too:
“He delivers!” (Take-out dinner…)
“Church: He’s There!”
“Dr. Visits: He’s There!”
“School Lunch: He’s There!”
“Field Trips: He’s There!”
“Graduations: He’s There!”
“Kid’s Games: He’s There!”
“Family Reunions: He’s There!”
“Birthdays: He’s There!”
“Holidays: He’s There!”
“Family Vacations: He’s There!”
Each of these was accompanied by a picture showing their dad –a tall, strong-looking, guy – actually engaged in that activity. The pictures were not taken at the same time, so the “Graduations,” “Field Trips,” “School Lunches” and “Doctor’s Visits” were clearly spread out over several years. But it didn’t matter. What his kids remembered was this: Their dad was there.
This man showed his kids that he cared enough to take time off work and be in their lives. He showed his wife (holding her own sign with a picture of her husband as Mr. Incredible) that he valued being present with her physically and emotionally – not just providing for her financially.
Fathers, I know you feel a deep burden to provide for the family. Today, we honor you for that. We say thank you for the long, exhausting hours you put into work – and even the long, exhausting hours you put into worrying that you’re not providing enough. But in your calling and identity to provide, I know you often feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Your family wants you around more. So now you feel the DOUBLE burden of “how am I going to provide for the family” and “how am I going to spend time with the family at the same time?”
Be encouraged as you look at these pictures: for the woman and children in your life, there is no expectation of a double burden. “He was there” declares our true priority.
We truly do value your presence more than the presents you bring us.
We truly do value your comfort when a disappointed child walks off the football field, more than the comfort of an extra-nice car or a larger house.
We truly do value the security that comes of knowing that you are THERE for us, more than the security that comes of knowing there is extra money in the bank. If we know you are there, we can handle anything financially.
Our nationally-representative surveys for For Men Only revealed that 70% of married women would trade off the stuff, if that was what it took to get more of you.
In other words, men, all those little things you’re already doing that you thought didn’t matter as much as your paycheck – showing up at the kids’ games, taking your son to the doctor or your daughter to the father-daughter dance, putting your arm around your wife in church as you settle in for the service – all of that is what shouts that you are already MR. INCREDIBLE.
Believe it. Because that is truly how we feel.
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Shaunti Feldhahn loves sharing eye-opening information that helps people thrive in life and relationships. She herself started out with a Harvard graduate degree and Wall Street credentials but no clue about life. After an unexpected shift into relationship research for average people like her, she now is a popular speaker and author of best-selling books about men, women and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her latest book, Find Rest: A Women’s Devotional for Lasting Peace in Busy Life, focuses on a journey to rest even with life’s constant demands.
Visit www.shaunti.com for more.