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3 Things to Not Say Regarding Father's Day.

Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s the worst.

I know, I know you had the best dad and you love so many things about him. You are about to share a great picture about him and tell me how he is the best.

Hear me when I say, I am happy for you. We each should have a loving caring family. However, we don’t all have that. For those of you that are friends are good dads. You have honestly impacted and changed my life. I have watched you be good, loving and patient parents. Your kids are become better people because of you.

Some of us didn’t have that, in fact. For some of us – it was worse than not having a dad – Father’s Day is celebrating the man who abused, exploited and trafficked me. I rejoice with you, I honor you and care about you and your family. Each day that gets closer the pain gets more intense, because each post, ad, and meme celebrates men who protected, cared for and loved their kids; this is the opposite of what happened in my life. Some of us had an absent father – sitting at the window longing for a dad to come and he never did. Empathy means not only feeling sorry but being able to stand in someone’s shoes understanding what it was like. If you are a parent, please do everything you can to be there for your kids and be a good parent. If you know someone who had a less than honorable parent – be kind to them, these days are not easy.

Three things I wish you wouldn’t do or say this Father’s Day:

1. He’s your dad and He did his best.NO. Just NO. I understand that I do not get another father. I understand that I will never have a dad or a family. However, please do not make excuses for something or someone you do not know or understand. He did not do his best or even try to do his best. He did not try to be a parent who loved or protected me. He abused, exploited and trafficked me – and there is no excuse for that and I will not celebrate him.

2. He’s the only dad you’ll ever have – you should be loving. STOP – unless you have walked in my shoes, please stop. I know you mean well, but compassion is feeling sorry for someone, as well-meaning as it is. Empathy is walking in someone shoes, experience life as they have, feeling the pain and suffering as they have and walking life as they have. I get that I don’t get to have a replacement father, but some of us have experienced pain, suffering, abuse, and exploitation at the hands of a parent. It’s not about not getting ice cream, toys or vacations. For me, for many its literally about a parent who abuse and trafficked you. I think this is where the community comes in and for some the faith community, where we say ‘it takes a community’. In some cases, we are intended to be there for one another. I know this is a hard pill to swallow in such and individualized culture, but this is the only way we make it through. And no, the fact that it was a long time ago doesn’t make it better.

3. You should honor your parents.No. Stop taking the Bible out of context. My theology professors always taught me that “All meaning is context dependent.” God’s intention was that parents would love, protect and care for their children. God warns against those who would hurt their children as it would be better to have a large stone tied around their neck and thrown into the sea. The burden is not on the children but on the parent. In my case – my father was the trafficker and is not worthy of honor (biblically) and God will hold Him accountable for what he has done. There is nothing worthy of honor in abusing and trafficking your daughter.

There was a project done in a prison where they took cards to send to moms on Mother’s Day – many of the prisoner took the cards to send to a mom or mother figure that they ran out of cards. It was so successful they brought cards in to do on Father’s Day. Many of the prisoners just walked away into their cells, very few only a handful sent cards to a father or father figure because of the pain and brokenness in their lives.

Many studies have been done and I know that you will know someone who has a painful history with a father. And I hope that you are kind to them, we hold it together, we are strong but it doesn’t mean that we are not hurting. We all need someone to care, love and support us.

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