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just be grandpa

By Michelle Lehnardt

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He could have asked us to address Him by many titles:

Creator of Heaven and Earth

Almighty

King Of Israel

The Most High

Lord Of Armies

The Majesty

The Lawgiver And Judge

Sovereign

or even Heavenly Husband

And yet, He chose ‘Father.’

*****

Last October, I admired the Temple Square fountains from the gorgeous 4th floor office of Elder William Walker as he told this story–

Elder Packer shuffled into Elder Walker’s office and lowered himself into a chair with visible discouragement. “I just had the most disturbing conversation with an old friend.” he grumbled.

This friend was a former Bishop and Stake President who complained to Elder Packer now that he was getting on in years the church just wasn’t using his talents—“I could do so much good in the world!” He expressed. I imagine he hoped that Elder Packer’s position might secure him a spot in a temple presidency or as an area authority.

“He just doesn’t get it,” Elder Packer lamented to Elder Walker, “he just doesn’t get how lucky he is to just be grandpa.”

*****

I’ve replayed that story (and the entire conversation) over and over in my mind for the last several months. In our church that speaks so passionately and so often about the divine role of mothers, we rarely address the importance of fatherhood.

Even in our family centered church, we tend to revere men who hold high positions and/or bring home large paychecks, both of which take fathers from the home. A conversion story from the pulpit doesn’t seem complete unless it ends with, “and he went on to become a bishop and a stake president. ” We don’t seem content with, “And he cherished his children, taught them well and guided them towards Christ.”

This subject is a painful one for those abandoned by their fathers for prestige, addictions or the bed of a younger woman. But there is one Father who will never abandon or betray us—  the King of Heaven, Elohim, the Father of us all.

And it is because of our divine parentage that we should teach and strive for an ideal image of fatherhood. Children innately tie their perception of God to their earthly father. My oldest son pointed out that as much as women decry the depiction of women in the media- common portrayals of husbands and fathers are equally disturbing. Yes, we see the strong, competent, single, childless Jason Bourne type men, but fathers are usually rendered as lazy, sports obsessed, beer-guzzling, burping figures used for comic relief.

I intend to teach my sons a different ideal.

Two Saturdays ago, I photographed a Valentine party my friend was holding for her six-year old Isabelle—my camera clicked fast and furiously as I tried the capture the twirling, sparkling little girls, but over and over, I found my lens focused on Isabelle’s two grandfathers who had set aside everything else that afternoon to help with the party.

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I became bit teary watching, Karl, an 80 year old widower, bent low to bead wooden necklaces with his small charges, while Dave tried his hand at the glue gun. Yes, I may have overheard a bit of longing for the U of U basketball game on television, but nothing took priority over their small posterity.

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They are men who get it.

Men who know how lucky they are to just be grandpa.

How has your life been influenced by good fathers and grandfathers?

If your father has let you down, how do you compensate/overcome that loss?

How can we raise our sons to be “fathers who know”?

Can you share movies or television shows that portray good fathers? We came up with Ramona & Beezus, Finding Nemo and Life is Beautiful.

About Michelle Lehnardt

(Blog Team) I'm the kind of mom who drives through mud puddles, throws pumpkins off the roof and lets the kids move the ping-pong table into the kitchen for the summer. Despite (or probably, because of) my immaturity, my five sons and one daughter are happy, thriving, funny people. I'll climb a mountain with you, jump into a freezing lake hand-in-hand or just sit with you while you cry. I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ will heal the earth. Founder of buildyourteenager.com, scenesfromthewild.net and rubygirl.org.

45 thoughts on “just be grandpa”

  1. Ah, fathers are such a difficult subject for me. I have had three people I have called "Dad" and each one has corrupted that name and meaning for me – so much so that each year I celebrate (with 2 extraordinary women) Surviving Fathers Day. I overcome that loss by choosing to believe that men can still be good. A favourite quote of mine about this is from 'Eat Cake' by Jeanne Ray where she writes that a man who doesn't choose to be the father we want or need isn't necessarily a terrible man, just terribly disappointing.

    My Grandfather was everything I point to as being a good man. He gave me away at my wedding and I always knew he loved me and my sons. I miss him beyond words.

    I don't know how to teach my sons to be fathers who know. I'm hoping their own father's choices will help guide them of what not to do, and that the influence of good men in our family, friends and at church will be good examples. This is the tough question for me!

    And good dads are in these movies – CJ7, The Lovely Bones,Dear Frankie. My favourite TV Dad is Joan's Dad in Joan of Arcadia. I'm off to see if I can find Ramona!

    Reply
  2. Michelle, this piece and the accompanying photos are so moving.

    I've never thought about the good that could be done in this world if more people were willing to focus on their roles as "just" grandpa or grandma or even dad or mom. The way Elder Packer phrased it in your words above shows that those who are able to devote themselves fully to family duties are truly fortunate. If more people understood that (including myself) the children they are influencing would be much better off.

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  3. I was blessed to have the most amazing grandfather. When he passed away, he left a huge hole in my heart. Nine years later, I still miss him fiercely.

    My dad and my father-in-law are both wonderful men and engaged grandfathers. My dad loves rodeo with a passion. When I was little, he spent a lot of time traveling to ride in small rodeos. He was already gone a lot because of his job as owner of a construction company that built roads. He realized that his hobby was taking him away from his family more than he wanted. He walked away from his horses and roping without a regret. It was two decades later before he started team roping again. He told me that it was a decision he never regretted because his family was most important.

    My husband is an engaged dad. He is much more loving and nurturing than I.

    I have been so blessed by knowing men who prioritize family, who give up hobbies and dreams to be the fathers they need to be. I only wish that some of my siblings could see how much they have and appreciate my father more.

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  4. My grandfathers died 10 and 20 years before I was born, so I didn't really know what having a grandpa meant. It was fun watching my own father turn into a grandfather. Nothing was too much effort for those kids, whether it was shooting up out of bed because one of them needed a ride somewhere, or using his air compressor to blow up a room full of birthday balloons, or being the guest of honor at Grandparents Day at school, or fulfilling a request for a story of what it was like in the olden days. Dad kept photos of his grandchildren lying around everywhere — EVERYwhere — and when he'd pick up a photo his expression would change to a peculiar combination of tears and smiles.

    I hope the grandkids will retain some memory of him despite his passing when they were mostly still quite young. They were everything to him.

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  5. Michelle, thanks for this beautiful post. I have such a tender spot for both of my grandfathers, very different men with different ways of engaging their grandkids. I think both men mellowed as they got older so that they were (arguably) even better grandfathers than they were fathers–probably a function of the time they were able to give once the demands of their professions eased.

    By the way, my favorite movie/book father is Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. LOVE him.

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  6. Love this post–my grandfathers would never do this but both are important in my life. A good dad is such a big thing with balancing, just like being a good mom, and I do feel bad there aren't more role models for it. There are men in my ward I notice sometimes when their wives say something that are quietly going about just being great at this most important task and I have such respect for them.

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  7. What a beautiful post. Just after reading this, I was listening to a conference address by President Uchtdorf where he says, "However, there are those who sometimes struggle with this concept. And when they do, they seem to fall into one of two camps: either they seek to lead, or they seek to hide. They covet a crown or a cave. Those who seek to lead may feel they are capable of doing more than what they are currently asked to do. Some might think, “If only I were a bishop, I could make a difference.” They believe that their abilities far surpass their calling. Perhaps if they were in an important position of leadership, they would work hard at making a difference. But they wonder, “What possible influence can I have as merely a home teacher or a counselor in the quorum presidency?”"

    He also points out that someday, the positions we hold will mean very little to the Lord: "Brethren, when we stand before the Lord to be judged, will He look upon the positions we have held in the world or even in the Church? Do you suppose that titles we have had other than “husband,” “father,” or “priesthood holder” will mean much to Him? Do you think He will care how packed our schedule was or how many important meetings we attended? Do you suppose that our success in filling our days with appointments will serve as an excuse for failure to spend time with our wife and family?"

    The talk is here: http://lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/lift-where-you-stand?lang=eng

    I've been blessed to know some great men and I'm lucky to have a husband who prizes his title as "father" more than anything else. He loves his children and spends time with them often — one of our favorite traditions is Daddy Trips, where he takes all the kids ages 3 and up (6 of them the last couple of times) on a long camping/exploring/car tripping/swimming/caving/etc. trip while I stay home with the littlest ones and get my bearings.

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. My boys do not have their grandfathers in their lives, but the choice of their grandfathers. I hurt for my boys as I had my grandfathers in my life growing up.

    As I read this post, I twisted around to think about the roll of mothers. It helped me appreciate my roll as a mother even more and the importance of that roll for my boys. Their dad is not really interested in them until they are more self sufficient and into what he likes, so I am pretty much alone in the parenting world.

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  9. I have a wonderful grandpa who passed away several years ago. He was such a loving and kind man and made friends wherever he went. He always had treats in his pants pocket for all the dogs in the neighborhood and gum in his shirt pocket for all the kids. He had been crippled with polio as a child, and although he was stooped, you never noticed his disability because of his warm and loving nature. He was strong and firm in the gospel and an unfailing home teacher, even into his 80's. I have so many fond memories of him that I'm crying as I'm writing this. I am blessed to have a son who resembles him so strongly that I think of him every day. Hooray for wonderful grandpas.

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  10. I have a fabulous father-in-law, whom I am so grateful for.

    Dan in Real Life. I am Sam. Mrs. Doubtfire. The Pursuit of Happyness. Father of the Bride. My Big, Fat Greek Wedding. Sleepless in Seattle. Three Men and a Baby. From TV: Full House. Parenthood (I LOVE Adam as a father!). Brady Bunch. 7th Heaven. Little House on the Prairie. The Cosby Show. Family Ties. Growing Pains.

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  11. Thank you for your inspiring replies. I love hearing about the good men in your lives. And Shelly, I mourn that loss with you. May you and your boys be loved and protected.

    One of the most interesting thoughts I've read lately is– "fatherhood, not priesthood, is the male counterpart to motherhood."

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  12. Very insightful article…I emailed it to my husband, who recently stepped down from the V.P. position at his law firm…to spend more time as a "hands on" father….thankfully, he realized that he was sacrificing too much, and no matter the success at the firm, it does not match the fulfillment of a happy home life. It has been a hard adjustment for him, and I realize that there is a time and season for everything,and this will not always be the case. I am just sooo grateful he realized he has to embrace this season….right now (kids grow up, and move away,as the Abba song says, "slipping through my fingers, all the time").
    But, after reading this, I have a new appreciation for the grandfather's in my life….no more thinking "wouldn't you love to go do this or that?"….what a wonderful blessing to just be a grandpa!! How blessed we are to have two full-time grandpas in our family! I will make sure they know how we cherish them..today! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  13. Michelle, such a lovely post and gorgeous pictures of radiant grandfathers. Thank you so much. The topic of exemplary, nurturing men is one that is close to my heart. I am raising four sons and ache for them that the society in which they are being raised has so little good to say about men and boys. There are so many put-downs for the male species….a sad backlash of the feminist movement (which of course did much good too).

    My own father has disappointed me tremendously in the kind of man he has been, but he has changed some over the years, and while I can't say I admire him today, I do appreciate that he is loving and warm towards my boys (something which he struggled to be when he was raising me). I am still working on forgiving him for some of the cruel ways he has acted out through the years. I think what has helped the most is to try to imagine the deep pain that is in his own heart…I only know bits and pieces of his childhood story, but I know there are scars which significantly compromised his ability to do more. I have great hope that in the end, after mortality's handicaps are stripped from us, we will see much more goodness in the souls of those who have deeply hurt us than we had thought possible.

    Thankfully, my husband is gentle and thoughtful. The way he helped his aging, frail grandmother steer around the kitchen on our first date was one of the main things that stole my heart 16 years ago. The way he talked to her was so soft and patient. His voice whispered volumes about the depth and power of his soul.

    I do think men and boys who are unusually sensitive and thoughtful sometimes have a hard time fitting into our culture. I have a 10-year-old son who often talks about how much he loves babies and little ones, but he is my sweet dreamer, artistic boy who doesn't quite fit in with his peers. Then, my husband is currently far more baby-hungry than me…he often tells me about some sweet little one he's seen somewhere. And, because of some medical complications, I just don't think we're adding to our family anymore. Strangely, it is my son and husband who are probably the most heart-broken about it.

    I think one of the most important things we can do for our sons is talk about them being fathers one day. I feel like we talk a lot about boys becoming missionaries one day (which of course is essential as well) but maybe not so much about being a dad. I think girls hear lots about being mommies later in life.

    I love the quotes from Handsfullmom. Thank you.

    Michelle, I think your family blog is one of the most beautiful examples of a father and sons who radiate love and goodness. Thank you for that.

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  14. I had a fabulous grandpa, and my Dad is probably the best grandpa a kid could hope for. When we would go to my Grandpa's house he would stop whatever he was doing to spend time with his visitors. He came to all of the birthday parties. Even though he couldn't go into the temple, he attended every wedding of his grandkids. On his deathbed he was worried that he had run out of cookies for his grandkids, and sent my dad to the store to get some cookies for when the grandkids came.

    My dad had a perfect example of how to be a grandpa, and he's a natural. He spends time with the grandkids, he plays with them, will drop anything to see them, and attends everything.

    After watching a tv show my daughter wanted to throw a grandpa party like the one on tv. My dad immediately said he'd be there. The other grandparents said they probably wouldn't come because they had just gone on a diet. This was a thank you party for grandparents thrown by a 4-year-old and they almost didn't come because of their diet.

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  15. Thank you so much for this article! It really hit home with me because of various things happening in my life right now.

    I have been greatly blessed with wonderful men in my life who enjoy their roles as father and grandfather, and it has made all the difference.

    I had never realized that the divine roles of parents where BOTH under such attach in the media but they really are. Thank you for your wonderful words!

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  16. I love the way you began the post.
    I can think of several movies that portray good fathers:
    Pursuit of Happyness, To Kill a Mockingbird, Sleepless in Seattle, Full House, Dan in Real Life- even though he is a murdurer of love :), Pa Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie), and Lion King.

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  17. What a great post!! My children are not blessed by grandfathers as described. Both are distant, aloof, and apathetic. My FIL tries harder than my father, but the gap left is strongly felt by me. I didn't have grandfathers growing up and feel I missed out a little bit. Now my kids have to miss out. I am going to change that cycle when I have grandchildren…my husband and I will be "grandparents who know"…… ps…my husband is a wonderful father who "know"…

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  18. Love love love this post.

    As the youngest of the youngest (on both sides), by the time I figured out how to appreciate my grandparents, they were very old and fatigued, and all 4 of them died when I was in my late teens/early twenties. My oldest cousin (the oldest of the oldest) tells amazing stories of the love and affection and devotion of my grandparents, and I am jealous that her memories of our grandfather are of him showing up at BYU to give her extra spending money and to fix her car, while mine are of a nurse feeding him as he slowly lost his battle with Parkinson's.

    But I appreciate so much my FIL, and his efforts with my own children. On my husband's side of the family, almost all of us had a hard time having kids, and the grandchildren came slowly and with much hardship. I sometimes think that has made them even more determined to enjoy their grandchildren, because there was a time when it looked like they would have a very small posterity.

    My own father enjoys his grandchildren too, but in a less hands on way. Still, he's at every function he can be at for all his grandchildren–baptisms, birthdays, etc, and our family is spread out. He and my mom don't have to travel, yet they do.

    I think that even if you don't have a hands-on relationship with a grandparent, there is still great power and comfort knowing that they will always be there, no matter what.

    Thanks again for this post. I'm gonna share it with everyone I know.

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  19. Beautiful post and photos. You can just tell from the photos that they "get it."

    One of my grandfathers passed away before I was born the other when I was 6. I have a few memories of him. I knew he loved me. I remember him holding my hand as we went for a walk around his neighborhood. He lived in the shadow of the Logan temple. I remember walking with him and seeing him looking up at the temple. After his funeral I remember walking out of the church and looking up at the temple. I tried to live my life so I could go inside the temple but while I prepared, every time I went past the temple, I looked up. I remembered that walk with my grandpa and as I got to know him through my parents and siblings I realized it was hard for him to always live the gospel but he lived it faithfully. He never knew how much that simple act helped me live my life. I knew he loved the Lord and he served him as best he could.

    My dad passed away 3 years ago and I remember how much he loved being a grandpa. He would take the kids to get ice cream, read them stories, take them on walks, show them his photos and let them help harvest produce from his garden. My daughter was born 5 months after his death. It's sad that she won't know him in this life but I'm doing my best to make sure she knows him.

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  20. We talk about this all the time in my Women's Studies class!
    When I was in High School, I rarely saw my dad, but that didn't mean he wasn't an example to me. He works two jobs so my mom can stay home, plus he's the Bishop of our little ward. We bonded when we could. He took on the task of early morning rides to seminary and helped me learn to change my fan belt. But when I went to college, we sort of lost contact.
    Our relationships with mothers are deeply emotional, while our relationships with fathers tend to be situational. Without close proximity, I continued my emotional connection to my mother. I sometimes call her three or more times a day, with tidbits and ponderings and questions. My connection to my dad takes more effort. I used to call him rarely, and only in a crisis. He's always been good with logistics and organizing, and I need him.
    Sometimes I would call my mom and he picked up her cell. I used to just call back, but recently I've just talked to him about what I called to say. One night this led to a two hour conversation about leadership and stewardship. I had called about an interview.
    While it's still true that emotional problems drive me to my mother and logistical problems lead me to my father, I'm trying to even it out. My dad can nurture me, too. He's incredibly insightful and amazingly calm. He taught me to love working and cooking, and he even encouraged my feminist thinking. Right now, our conversations center mostly on the Genuine Buddy I'm hoping to buy this Spring, but they're conversations I look forward to.

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  21. Loved this post, Michelle.

    I didn't have involved grandpas growing up—one died when I was quite young and the other one lived far away. And my own children have definitely missed out in the grandpa department, which makes me sad. I'm hoping my grandchildren will fare better. I value the contributions that good fathers and grandfathers make—I definitely think we underestimate their roles.

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  22. “And he cherished his children, taught them well and guided them towards Christ.”

    What else really matters? Michelle – thank you for this gorgeous post. Your photos say so much, and so do your words. Yes, we could do better when it comes to revering the role of father – that it is enough, to simply be.

    I am so grateful for the good men that surround me and my children.

    As always, you inspire. Love you.

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  23. A former bishop I know is currently in prison for sexually abusing some of his little granddaughters.

    What past experience in his life does he treasure the most? Being a bishop. Not being a father or grandfather. (I guess that's obvious)

    The extreme example of "not getting it" from 2 aspects: love of a church title and having the capacity to actually be able to do that to children, especially grandchildren. I'll never be able to get my head around it.

    I feel such gratitude towards our Heavenly Father for blessing us with leaders such as
    Elder Packer.

    Thank you, thank you for sharing the story of he and Elder Walker. Its exactly what I haven't been able to put into words.

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  24. Ah Wilson, what a heartbreaking story. I'm so sorry.

    Megan (or anyone else who can answer this question)– you speak of mother/child relationships as emotional and father/child relationships as situational. Is this the theory in Women's Studies? Because I see father/child relationships as something that affects people to their very core. The great dramas in the Bible and in Shakespeare's plays often refer to the father/child dynamic. And in a sillier drama– the television show 'Lost'– almost every storyline touched on father/child conflict.

    To be abandoned by one's father is emotionally devastating.

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  25. Watching my dad become a grandpa has been amazing. Thank goodness for him, or my kids would never be able to go camping, fishing, or learn the love of the outdoors that he teaches them. He is a worker, and when my kids spend time with him, they work along side him. These are precious lessons.

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  26. Michelle, again, your words are wise and thought-provoking, and your photos deeply enriching to the soul.

    My Dad has always fiercely believed in me. I think he thinks I am near perfect, and at times where I felt like I could never measure up, I would feel of his confidence in me. When my husband asked for my hand in marriage, he responded that he had full confidence in me and thought I was incredible. If I thought Dave was worthy of marriage, than he must be. (My mom didn't see things that way.) My Dad's confidence again empowered me.

    Yet I felt like he didn't really know me. I craved his time and attention, and he showered me with things. I wanted him to be there at the big game where I was the top of our most daring stunt to date, but he didn't feel like coming so he didn't. (As a dentist he had the time.) Those kinds of rejections burned me deeply.

    When I was engaged I visited the marriage books section of the BYU Bookstore and was there introduced to the Five Love Languages. It revolutionized my relationship with me Dad.

    My love language? Acts of service, with some quality time as a secondary.

    My Dad's love language? Gifts.

    Suddenly I realized that his giving me $20 to go out with friends after the game was his way of saying I love you, not an attempt to buy me off.

    When he came to visit us while my husband was in law school, he wanted us to take him to Office Depot. I didn't understand why, but made it a priority only to discover that he wanted to purchase quality desk chairs for us to replace the raggedy duct taped one Dave spent so many hours studying in.

    Before the book I would have thought it was nice of him, but would have wished we could have spent the time on a different activity. After the book, I saw it as an act of love and felt loved every time I sat in one of those chairs.

    At the risk of sounding like I'm stereotyping (which I am), men are hardwired differently than woman. In general, I think women can see the way to nurture more clearly than men can. (Of course there are exceptions.) For me, overcoming my disappointments in my Dad was made possible by seeing him through different lenses and accepting and appreciating what he did have to give rather than sorrowing over what I wish he would have given.

    I know that wouldn't work for those who have been abused or deeply betrayed, but taking a different perspective was just what I needed.

    I think I would better raise my son to be a father who knows if I would expect my husband to be one. Sometimes, due to both his work schedule and my confidence in my ability to meet the needs of our children, I don't treat him like a full partner in raising our children. Because he is so often missing for family scriptures, I take over too often when he is home out of habit. Same with FHE, discipline, etc. I should encourage him to engage more in the meaningful parts of parenthood when he is home rather than just taking over all the time.

    As far as movies…oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ramona and Beezus. I cannot remember the last movie I saw that I loved more.

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  27. My dad wasn't around when I was growing up – he and my mom divorced shortly after I was born and I don't think being a father interested him much at that stage in his life. My grandfather was the person who filled that role in my life. He taught me how to change oil in a car, ride a moped, drive a manual car, wrote me letters when I went to college and got anxious if I didn't call every Sunday. He's been gone a year and I still miss him terribly. I wish my kids could have known him.

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  28. Another thought that comes to mind as I think about all of this is that we never really outgrow the need to be loved and nurtured by our parents. My mother-in-law talks about still loving to go to her 90-year-old mother's house and feel that love.

    It makes me think really hard about what kind of grandma I want to be. I think we can so often think about parenting being 'done' when our children are raised, but this post illustrates the power of parents/grandparents who are THERE, both physically (when possible) and definitely emotionally.

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  29. I loved this post. It's a little bittersweet because it reminded me of relationships I didn't have, don't have, and what my children don't have either.

    I really hate how the father role has been diminished. One of my biggest pet peeves is if mom is away, most people refer to it as dad is babysitting. You can't babysit your own kids! It's called parenting!

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  30. I had the best dad ever and he was a great grand dad but he passed away before my kids ever had the chance to know him. Their other grandpa has passed away,too. I really am sad they do not have a grandpa to love them here on this earth.

    I had 2 great grandpas growing up and I feel very blessed.

    The first movie that came to mind was The Princess Bride. He was a good grandpa!! I also liked Dan in Real Life and Bend it Like Beckam.

    Maybe not exactly what you were looking for…

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  31. Very sweet, I love the post on fathers!

    However, that story rankles me…it reminds me too much of the spin on females in our church "You don't need the priesthood, you're a mother!" Poor old guys…praised and lauded their whole lives, until they are "too old" and then cast aside like a sack of potatoes, to commiserate with the women and children. It must be hard to feel like you have so much to offer, but since you're "old", no one will listen or pay attention to you. 🙁

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  32. I've spent 25 old years of my life desperately craving a daddy/daughter relationship with my father. I love him. I know he loves me. But it seems to end there. I wish he were interested in what was going on in my life. I wish he could experience the incredible joy my children bring me. If you have a father who is truly involved in your life…it is something to be cherished. I hang on to the hope that maybe in the next life I will be able to experience a relationship like that. Until then, I am so grateful to know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is very aware of my circumstance.

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  33. My husband and I have a saying, "Men and women are on the same team!"

    I know sometimes I make the mistake another poster mentioned and undermine my husband by criticizing his efforts with the kids because he doesn't handle things the way I would have handled it.

    But what am I really saying when I say, "You give the kids too many sweets!" "You shouldn't give into him when he cries!" or "Can't you, for once, just load the dishwasher!"? I am saying, "I don't need you. I can do this better on my own!"

    That isn't really the message I want to send, but I'm afraid it's the message too many men these days are hearing. And I'm also afraid our greater society is sending that message as well. When a woman can fix the car, bring the bacon, raise the kids, and mow the lawn, what's to stop a man from saying, "What does she need me for?"

    The answer is we need you because we ALL need good men and we want to have good men as fathers, husbands, brothers, brothers-in-law, and grandfathers. We need to play on the same team, not compete with each other. Both sexes lose when we do that. Can't we fix the car together, and raise the kids together, and make our money work together (even if only one of us brings home a paycheck)?

    So hooray to those two grandfathers and all the other fathers out there who understand how important they are in our lives. We all need good men so much.

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  34. Grandpas are awesome.

    Fathers are very important and I see the difference a good dad can make in the lives of the Cub Scouts I see every week. The boys that have present fathers who try their best seem to have a confidence the boys with absent fathers (physically or emotionally) just don't. The boys with involved fathers have direction in their lives, the boys without tend to drift. The single moms of our scouts are working to keep their families afloat amidst storms that would make many a heart stumble. Good fathers, and grandfathers, are such a blessing.

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  35. I couldn't agree more with the importance of fathers (and grandfathers). My parents defy a lot of the stereotypes. I remember calling my dad when I was in college for dating advice or sitting with my father as he cried with me and my husband about not being able to have children. My father is definitely one of my biggest cheerleaders. However, that connection with my mom is much more lacking. But I can definitely see some very real benefits to have a very involved and interested father in my life.

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  36. In reply to your inquiry, Michelle, the assumption that maternal relationships are emotional and paternal relationships are situational is something we discussed in Women's studies. It's often a result of the unfortunate assumption that nurturing is naturally easier for women and men need not try to cultivate this virtue. Nurturing, though our divine role, is not perfectly innate. Being a mother takes study and effort, learning to nurture is something girls are taught since their youth. I speak of this situation as a proven trend but also, tragically, as a personal experience that I will not ignore.
    Everyone's experiences are different, and I can only truly represent my own. I envy those whose relationships with their fathers are, as you say, to the core. I only wish to bring a holistic understanding through the introduction of a different experience.

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