“… relationships are a continuous journey and a process of reconciliation and forgiveness.”
My wife Jessie and I have been married for 28 years, and we have two daughters, Carissa (24) and Rachel (22). As Jessie had previously attended Focus on the Family Malaysia’s (FOFM) Mother & Daughter Connection event and found it helpful, we thought that I too could attend the Father & Daughter Banquet with my daughters.
Carissa and Rachel had mixed feelings about the event. They were curious and excited, but nervous as well. Although we shared similar personality traits and values, my daughters and I still held different opinions and perspective on various matters; and this event helped the girls understand how to better communicate with me.
Throughout the event, it was great to be guided by the topics provided by FOFM as it gave us a framework to discuss and share our thoughts. It was also helpful to be surrounded by other fathers and daughters at the event, which provided some sort of peer modelling.
There are many parents who find parenting a challenging task, and daughters who struggle to build a solid relationship with their dads. In my relationship with my daughters, I have learnt the importance of showing patience and empathy, and in being available for them. These are lessons that I have made great strides in, but still have room to improve on. One piece of advice that I would offer to fathers is this: learn how to be a dad in ‘truth and grace’. How does this look like? Never be afraid to speak the truth with your children; however, learn to speak that truth in grace at the right time and with a gentle voice.
In 2011, Carissa and I were invited to speak at the Father & Daughter Banquet event. Carissa reminded the daughters present that just as they were less-than-perfect daughters, their fathers were imperfect people too.
With that, I will end by saying that relationships are a continuous journey and a process of reconciliation and forgiveness. We have to learn to forgive not just each other, but ourselves for the mistakes we make and will continue to make.
— Franklin Morais