I recently came across a really neat commercial that featured (for a change) a really powerful “dad moment” in of all things a commercial…for coffee.
I like it for several reasons. First, it stands in contrast to most commercials that feature men or dads that are catatonic dolts. You know the guy I’m talking about…the dad that can’t figure out the simplest things, that acts like a big kid all the time (while the all-wise, all-knowing woman tolerates his stupidity, and the all-wise, all-knowing kids do, too). I’m very tired of that stereotyping of men and dads in particular, because it reinforces the lie that dads do not matter.
Another reason I really enjoy this commercial is that it’s based on a real story. We need to share our real stories as men, to encourage each other. To sometimes warn each other.
I’m also fond of this “dad ad” because it reminds us of the powerful and enduring impact of a dad…for good or bad. In the commercial, the grandfather is bringing coffee to his grandson’s hockey game, while his son is already there looking on the game. Flashbacks tell us that this game…hockey…has been a passion for the son (father of the grandson) since he was a little boy. We also sense that the grandfather didn’t approve of his son’s love of hockey. He didn’t refuse his son’s desire to play ALL the time, but he did put studying above hockey MOST of the time. And yet…the son realizes by the end of the commercial that his dad was not as disconnected from his hockey playing as he thought.
His dad would sneak into his games…his dad would watch from a distance and cheer him on…his dad even kept a picture of his son in his hockey uniform in his wallet for YEARS AND YEARS. The faded picture is shown to the adult son as proof he watched the games and knew about the effort of his son in the sport. The picture is precious to him.
This sets up a moment of peace, implied forgiveness, gratitude…and pride. The grandfather is proud of his son. The grandfather is proud of his grandson. And the implication is clear. That pride and admiration and respect of your dad means a lot. And even that statement is an understatement.
Research shows that an engaged dad in a child’s life has a huge impact in the social, emotional, academic, and spiritual well-being and development of our kids. So how are we doing, dads? Do we take or create opportunities to let our children know we are proud of them? Do we have our own “This is my beloved son/daughter in whom I’m well pleased” moments?
I’m humbled by this commercial. I’m warned, in a way, as a dad. The warning to us is this: Don’t wait for decades to pass before we tell our kids that we love them, that we are proud of them, that we appreciate what they can do and are capable of doing. We can talk all day long about government programs, church programs, non-profit ministry programs and the like that we need to encourage dads.
But some times as a dad…we just gotta go do it.
So let’s tell our kids and our grandkids today how much they mean to us. Let’s not let the day go by without making an opportunity to do that.
What ways have you been blessed by a dad or grandpa that told you that they were proud of you? What creative ways have you seen this type of blessing shown in public? Share your comments below.
Leon C. Wirth is a Christian speaker, husband and father. He serves as Executive Director of Parenting and Youth at Focus on the Family and host of the Dad Matters podcast with Dr. Greg Smalley. He is the co-author of the book The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions. Leon lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters.