This Father’s Day, I have something else in mind. And aside from the gifts/presents, I wanted my Dad to feel SEEN. To know that he matters. So I made a date with my dad, and asked him some questions I’ve always wanted to know. This was so special and connected us on another level, that I wanted to share it with you and perhaps allow you to get to know your dad a little better too.
Give him the gift of TIME this Father’s Day, and make him feel loved and seen.
I will be sharing some of my dad’s answers to my questions as I truly appreciated his answers, but some of them were only for the two of us. I will still give you all the questions we talked about. So, here we go; get to know your old man a litter better.
QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS PAST
What has been your favourite age so far and why?
I asked my Dad this question and expected him to say his uni-days, but was surprised to learn that thought being about 35 was his favourite age.
“I think it is a very exciting time because you’re married, started your family, already settled into a career and you still have loads of energy, and full of dreams. There’s just no end to it. So that time in my life was pretty spectacular for me.”
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got the chance?
This question might just reveal something you don’t know about your dad yet, or perhaps a dream he has put away for so long that it doesn’t seem possible anymore. Awaken that! My dad has always had this childhood dream to travel and work on the S. A. Agulhas Ship. It is a South African ice-strengthened training ship and former polar research vessel, was designed from the beginning to carry out both scientific research and supply South African research stations in the Antarctic. How freakin’ interesting would that have been!?
What were some of your biggest insecurities when you were in high school?
We have this idea that our dad’s weren’t afraid of anything. And insecure was the last thing I would used to describe my dad. He is so confident in everything he does. I’m sure he doesn’t always feel this way. And learning about how insecure he was in school really made my dad so much more relatable.
What was the hardest thing you went through as a child?
I wish you were here when my dad and I talked about this topic. It was emotional for both of us going back to a time in his life where he was literally crying on his bed as an 13-year old boy. The stress experienced as boy who has to deal with so many grownup emotions stays with you. Even though we move past difficult times in our lives, reliving it, even for a minute, can be so hard. Give this topic space.
What three adjectives would your grandparents use to describe you?
We often have this idea of how people perceive us, but I know grandparents are different types of people. And they only see the best in us. Because of this precise readon I wanted to know what he though they would use to describe him. My dad said he is sure his grandparents would have described him as clever & “soet”
How are you most different from your parents and grandparents? How are you the same?
How often did your father tell you that he loved you?
Men didn’t always tell other men – even if they were family – that they loved them. I don’t know why, but perhaps the vulnerability of it all made them a little reluctant. Today, men are saying what they feel a little easier, and more dads are saying the words “I love you” to their kids. But how much your dad hears those three words from his dad, probably has had a direct effect on how much he has said it to you…
What do you remember most about your dad?
“I remember my father being very gentle. Very calm. He was very much an introvert, but it wasn’t like he hid away. He was just happy by himself. In a conversation with others, he wasn’t scared to participate. But he just never took the spotlight.”
Did you ever win an award?
Almost everyone likes to be recognized, and asking this question will help you see what things your Dad was recognized for as a youth. In our case, it really gave me some insight into where his special gifts and talents were as a young man.
QUESTIONS ABOUT BEING A DAD
What do you enjoy most about being a father?
“I love the fact that I have this confidence, and this privileged position of influence just because I am a dad. It gives you certain rights and freedom to give advice and insights into your children and grandchildren’s lives. Even like little things, like ‘Turn you head when you when you blow your nose.’ You won’t say this to a stranger, but with your children you can. And from the receiving point, it’s always been so amazing to be that I am valued by my children just because I have this title of Dad. It blows my mind that I have this status for no other reason than being their Dad.”
Are there things you wish you had done differently as a father?
In short, my dad said he only realized later in his “parenting career” that his four kids needed different things and that what worked for one of us, did not necessarily work for all four of us. Especially regarding discipline. He said would have changed that and also be more aware of what a big role positive parenting could play.
What was the hardest part about parenting me?
We laughed so hard about this one. I was quite the challenge as a child. Not even mentioning the teenage years yet! But my dad described me as a very creative child. And said creative kids don’t really have boundaries (or filters, in my case) or appreciate structure. In fact, creativity and structure don’t really go together. But as young parents, they didn’t really understand that back then, and didn’t always know how to handle it.
So my dad said they had to change strategies often with parenting me, which was a little hard 🙂
Is there anything you always wanted to tell me but never have?
This one might come more easy for some, but others require a little more time to think about this question. But be prepared that this question may open old scars, perhaps hurt a little, or may be the encouragement he has never been able to put into words. Give this one time to breathe.
What did you think I would grow up to become?
I really looked forward to this one. As parents, we always hear our parents say they just want us to be happy. Maybe your parents were a little more forward and told you outright they want you be become a doctor. But we always have this idea or general direction that we can see/sense our kids going into. My dad thought:
“I always thought you would go into a career where you travel. Like with an airline, or hotel. Somewhere you would constantly be working with people coming and going. Or on a cruise ship! I didn’t have an exact career in mind, but definitely something you would be interacting with strangers on a daily basis. I never saw in behind a desk. At all.”
How many children did you want to have when you were young?
“6! I always loved the idea of a full, busy, loud house.”
What made you chose my name? What other names were you thinking of?
It might be a while since someone asked your dad this question. The memory might need some shaking. But there was something special about your name. Of al the 1000s of names your parents possibly could have chosen for you, they chose the best one they could think of. It means something. (Look it up before you ask you dad, if you don’t know already). I love hearing why they chose the name.
Whats is your favourite things about my mother?
So many of my friends’ parents are not together anymore. But still, they could find one thing they liked. I am fortunate that my parents are still together and very much in love after decades of married life. So it wasn’t hard for him to tell me what he loved.
“She cares. A lot. About everyone. Even if I don’t always understand, or agree. It’s her way. Especially with her children and grandchildren.”
Has there ever been a time where you’ve been scared? If so, what scared you?
I really appreciated my dad opening up to me about his fears. And times in our past where he was really sacred.
We often see our dads as these SUPERMEN. And they are. To us, at least. But sometimes we also want to know they are human, and they feel alongside us. To ask your dad this, and get an honest response about a time they felt hopeless, scared and helpless, opens this vulnerability part of us, and allows us to relate to one another. You might just find you’ve had the same fears.
Do you have any regrets? If so what are they?
“I admire people who say they don’t have any regrets. I have many! I did so many stupid things. Some I learned from, others not so much. But I guess one of the biggest regrets I have, was that I didn’t save, or put money away when I had the chance to do so. There was a time when we were doing really well. And we had more than enough to put away. But I didn’t think to put away for a time when we won’t have as much. That was a big mistake. There will always be seasons in your life. And the wisdom God gives me today, is that when you have a lot, it’s not to say you must use a lot. Live. Enjoy it. And use what you need. But put away a little for the next season. Like the Joseph-story.“
Have you ever done something illegal?
He has! And it was such a hilarious story of his high school years that I would have loved to share with you, but alas, this one will go to my grave. Oh my Dad was a little rebel, it seems!
I absolutely loved getting to my dad from a different perspective. These questions opened up new questions that I now want to know as well. So yes, there are still a couple of questions I have on my list for my Dad, and some might take a little more time to be answered. But even knowing that, makes me so excited, because I can make a monthly date with my Dad and record even more of this wonderful man I get to call Daddy.
May this Fathers’ Day bring something special for you and the father/father-figure in your life. All we all really want, is to be seen, loved and recognized for what we do/who we are. Even if that is the only gift you give him this year, I can promise you it would mean more than all the gifts combine.
All my love,