As Father’s Day is quickly approaching – this Sunday for those who are unaware – many people find themselves enthralled in feelings of love and adoration as they celebrate the Dad figure in their lives; however, many people also struggle with feelings of sadness or overwhelming anger because of what this day represents in either the death of a father or a father who was less than ideal or downright crappy. If you are in this latter camp,  Todd Cartmell, author of 8 Simple Tools offers a few suggestions that might help in making this Father’s Day a little less painful. 

For many, Father’s Day includes a “dad” gift (code for a bad necktie or a grilling utensil), a fun family activity, and perhaps a phone call, if dad lives farther away. However, as time passes on, some of us find that Father’s Day can carry a more somber meaning. The death of a father or child (my dad passed away six years ago), or relationships that have become estranged due to divorce or family conflict can turn this day of celebration into a day of sadness and remorse.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a couple ideas that might help:

1) Surrender the situation to God. Allow God to comfort you, as you experience feelings of sadness, frustration, or even remorse. Pour out your heart to him; after all, he gave you the ability to feel those exact feelings. Remember that the one who has infinite wisdom understands your situation perfectly and cares about it deeply.

2) Watch for God’s hand in your situation. While it may seem difficult to imagine, God specializes in healing those who are hurt and in bringing something good out of something painful, in his own time. Be attentive to ways that God may put on your heart initiate reconciliation or to show his love to others who are hurting.

Father’s Day can mean something different to each of us, but we have a loving heavenly Father who did not even shield himself from grief, and promised to walk with us through our most difficult moments.

TODD CARTMELL is a child psychologist who practices in Wheaton, Illinois. He received his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the author of several parenting books, including 8 Simple Tools. His parenting workshops have been enjoyed by thousands of parents throughout the country. Visit Dr. Todd’s website at www.drtodd.net and follow him on Facebook.

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