About 20 years ago I led a project with the youth of our church on “Honor Your Father & Mother.” I used a program that had been set up by Dennis Rainey with Family Life Today. Using their guidelines we had each of our youth write a tribute. I then printed each of the tributes on a good card stock and we matted them. We then had our youth prepare a spaghetti dinner with white table cloths, candles and the works. The youth, each wearing a white shirt and black slacks or skirt, served their parents with all the flourish they could muster and then, during the dinner, they presented the tributes. Needless to say, during the dinner there were lots of tears from moms and even a few dads who got choked a bit.
The program was a great success and the result was what I had hoped for and expected. What I was not prepared for was the response of some of our leaders. I decided while planning the event that I would also have each of our adult leadership team write a tribute as well. That was more difficult. Several of our adults had some emotional scaring, especially in their relationship with their dads. While we needed to do some counseling and coaching with our youth, we did even more with some of our leaders. There were some tears and some long talks, but it proved very worthwhile. I really believe that considerable healing occurred.
My dad was not a believer and he was largely absent as I grew up, but I think you will see from my tribute that I found a lot for which I could be grateful. My dad framed it and had it on the wall of his den until he passed in 2009.
At my dad’s funeral a few years ago I spoke at the memorial service. I shared my tribute with the congregation and added a postscript on how important it is that we tell those we love how much we appreciate them while we still have them.
– Stan Huie