Family Relationships & Health Part 1

Everyone Needs a Dad

Over the last few years, I have become more and more transparent. Prior to my experience on Biggest Loser, I believed I was transparent, but without even realizing it I was not: I would call it selective transparency.

Selective Transparency and the Problem

I do think we need to practice selective transparency most of the time.  There are moments when I think thoughts that I wouldn’t want anyone to know about and I need to take those to the Lord for correction and forgiveness. But, in examining the broken areas of our lives, an honest transparent examination can be crucial to healing, restoration, and recovery.

Recently I was moved by a video that posted to my Facebook feed. As I was trying to figure out why it affected me so much I remembered a conversation my Dad had with Austin a few years ago. He made a few statements that hit a deep place within me. The video brought back those memories and then my own contemplation caused me to do some deeper thinking that sent me on a mild emotional roller coaster.

The conversation my Dad had with Austin was basically him telling Austin that, “He (Austin) should make sure to spend the important moments with his family and not get caught up with working a job that kept you away from your children.” You see, that was the story of my own childhood.

My Relationship with My Dad

I remember once back in my college days, I was traveling for the public relations department and working in youth camps throughout the summer months. One afternoon I laid down for a nap and found myself waking up sobbing from the saddest dream. I was perhaps 3-4 years old, standing on some grass in front of a small run-down apartment. My Dad was leaving and I was crying and shouting, “Daddy don’t leave me. Daddy, please don’t leave me!” He had hugged me, said good-bye and was getting into a vehicle with a duffle bag. After waking from this dream in the midst of sobs, I thought that it was just because it was my first year away from home and I was missing my family.

I realized later that this event had actually happened and the dream was a memory I had forgotten. My Dad was in the service, carrying his duffel bag because he was shipping out.  My dad and mom never saw me play Little League, attended few concerts prior to my last years of high school, and were simply not present at the events that children long for their parents to attend. There was a myriad of reasons, but as a child it hurt. Over the years I have had to come to grips with this, and certainly made sure that my children did not have those experiences.

What I had never considered was my Dad’s feelings. His conversation with Austin revealed to me for the first time that he had been aware of what he was missing, but he had felt trapped. We were very poor and never had much of anything, and my dad had joined the Coast Guard as a way to put food on our table.

My heart melted when the Drill Sergeant asked the unruly 10 year old if he wanted him to be his daddy the next 10 years and the boy said “yes”. When the Sergeant follows up with “Why do you want me to be your daddy?” and the little boy says through a choked up voice, “I have no daddy.” tears flowed down my cheeks.

That is how I felt for years.

Even the television programs I liked as a child were built around this theme of fatherhood. Why was it that The Andy Griffith Show was one of my all-time favorites…I wanted a Dad like Sheriff Taylor. And even further, the show I loved so much in my first few years of elementary school was “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”. A single, working Dad who still found the time to be there for his son.

What does this have to do with Fit.Church?

Some would ask, “Why are you addressing this in Fit.Church? What does this have to do with losing weight?”

I realize that not every person’s weight problem stems from emotional pain but I would like to suggest that we take a hard look at our culture. We have more and more homes where Dad is not present and we have greater and greater numbers of people fighting obesity and other addictions.

I meet people almost every day who are fighting obesity because of emotional eating. Think about your motivations for over-eating. Do you use food to fill a void and to mask pain?

Read Family Relationships & Health Pt 2 for more information on this subject.