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10 September 2022
Dean and his youngest grandchild, Lani, enjoy some winter fun together.
Saying out loud the words children need to hear the most
Words Dean Clarke
“Can you please speak up?” “Dad, don’t you have your hearing aids on?” “No, I don’t like to use them.”
While this sounds like a conversation from a skit, it is a true and too often repeated conversation. While acknowledging the challenges that amplified multiple sounds can give, I always find it disappointing that the person misses out on engaging with us. I want them to hear me and speak with me.
I recently shared how nice it was that my mum called me. My friend commented that she wished her mum would call her, but she can’t because she passed away a few years ago. All of this has me thinking – is it time for us to speak up?
Not many dads are known for being talkers or saying what needs to be said. While it is changing, for many generations the father would sit quietly while the mother engaged with the family. Dads today are more ‘hands on’ with greater equality in parenting roles and responsibilities. But I wonder if dads have found their voice with the words children need to hear most?
The Bible tells of a time when God the Father spoke to Jesus. Jesus had been baptised, a significant event in his life, and then the Father said: “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy” (Luke chapter 3, verse 22). I love you, and I love who you are.
Jesus achieved much in his life. People were amazed at his teaching. He accepted and cared about those that society ostracised and rejected. He comforted the hurting, provided wisdom for living and ultimately died on a cross in the place of others. But before Jesus had done any of these things, prior to being a public figure or influencer, while still a nobody, his Father said, “I love you. I love who you are.” The Father is saying you are valued for you, not for what you do.
On Father’s Day, children around our country will give their dads cards and socks to say, “Thanks for being a great dad. We appreciate you and what you do.” Sadly, I can’t call my dad or hear him tell me one more time that he loves me. I’m fortunate to know that he did, but I also have the voice of God the Father in my life. For God doesn’t just speak about Jesus, he speaks about us.
The Scriptures tell me that God chose “to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians chapter 1, verse 5). God chooses to love me, and he loves loving me.
I can remember the time when I turned on the ‘hearing aid’ and finally listened to what God had to say to me. I stopped listening to what others said about God and tried to hear from him. In discovering God’s amazing love and acceptance, I found peace, comfort and courage.
It feels great to know that I am loved and accepted. So much so that I want my children and others to also hear the words, “You are loved. You are accepted.”
Maybe it is time for all of us dads to speak up and share words of love.
Ephesians chapter 1, verse 5: God chooses to adopt us into his family.
Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11: God thinks positively about us and our future.
Romans chapter 8, verse 38: Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Joshua chapter 1, verse 9: God is with us wherever we go.
Major Dean Clarke is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) in South Australia.