Willing to Change


It is possible to reinvent your relationship with your adult children in an instant. The National Center for Fathering shares one such story.

You can reinvent your relationship with your adult children in an instant. We can learn how with help from Brenda and Jim.

Growing up, Brenda knew her father cared for her, but she always sensed that he was busy. He was a good provider and helped her with decisions, but she always felt a gnawing lack of love and attention. Something was still unresolved, and she knew she needed to talk to him about it.

So one day, this young lady—now a young adult—took a risk and gently confronted her father for some of the things she missed growing up.

So, the first lesson here is that you may have issues to resolve with your father, and it’s important that you do it. Just make sure you approach him with reconciliation as your driving purpose—not blaming or shaming him for his weaknesses.

The second and more powerful lesson comes from Brenda’s father, Jim. He responded to his daughter in the most gracious and repentant way. He told her, “You’re right, honey, those things were missing, and I’m sorry. And I want to make sure they’re not missing in our relationship now.”

Just that quickly … their relationship changed.

Now it could be that maybe Jim had mellowed a little over the years and re-aligned his priorities, but who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Especially when that dog is you, Dad!

When Brenda talks about her dad now, it’s with a sparkle in her eyes. Because what has changed is his willingness to build a relationship and provide the emotional support and heart-to-heart openness that she had wanted many years ago.

Hearing this story, are you a little envious of Brenda and Jim? You don’t have to be. Dad, you can make yourself available to your own son or daughter. You can be open to confrontation, and be willing to hear about your shortcomings and, in humility, take advantage of that opportunity for growth.

You can re-create a new father-child relationship over night.

I give a lot of credit to Brenda—she took a risk and it paid off. But still, I can’t help but think, what if—years earlier—Brenda’s dad would have humbly come to her and said, “What can I do better as a dad?”

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