Words of Hope: Will You Forgive Me?

My dad loved the concept of forgiveness. He grew up in an abusive home with a father he did not admire and in fact deeply hated. He wished there were a way to speak openly with his dad about his frustrations, to be able to talk about wrongs done, and to have a loving home. When I was born, he vowed he would be a different father. He and my mom received powerful teaching on the importance of asking forgiveness. This concept hit my dad at his core. He wanted this for his family, a practice of forgiveness modeled with humility and consistency.  

When I arrived, he spent time considering how he might build a relationship with a child completely different than how he was raised. What did he wish for his family and his home? How would disagreements, mistakes, conversations, and interactions go in a healthy way rather than a toxic way?  

When I was eighteen months old, he began the process of asking me to forgive him. I don’t remember this, but my parents would describe how Dad would get down on one knee so that we were eye to eye. He would take my hand and say gently, “Jennifer, I wasn’t present when I came home from work, and you wanted to play. I didn’t play with you the way you wanted. Would you forgive me?” All the things he asked forgiveness for were mostly small like using a rude voice, a distracted attitude, not listening, or being too competitive. A friend observed one of these interactions one day and said, “Fred, why are you asking your child to forgive you, she won’t even remember this.” Dad replied, “I am building a habit of forgiveness asking in the home. She may not remember this moment, but she will have a dad who asks forgiveness fully and easily, a relationship where she can adjust any behavior that is unsafe or unkind.”  

I bless Dad for his consistent dedication to building a uniquely beautiful relationship between Dad and daughter.  

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. – Colossians 3:21