My dad was a good man, but I don’t think showing love through his words was ever a strength for him. Yes, he showed love in other ways by taking me to baseball games or buying gifts from time to time. However, like many men today, words of affirmation wouldn’t show up as one of his top three skills in life.
Before he passed away, he had a ventilator after surgery, preventing him from speaking. As I knew he was about to pass away, I took this opportunity to communicate my love and appreciation for him as a father.
The part that broke my heart was that my dad wanted to communicate with me at that moment, but he physically couldn’t. He couldn’t talk and kept trying to take the tubes out of his mouth to respond, but he couldn’t.
He had every opportunity to use his words to express his love for 68 years, but when he wanted to use his words the most, unfortunately, he couldn’t. This was heartbreaking for him.
I encourage every man to learn how to improve on this powerful way to express our love and appreciation to our spouses, kids, friends, co-workers and church leaders.
I will be the first to say how hard and awkward it can be at times. Even sharing my thoughts with my dad in the hospital wasn’t natural for me, but as I look back in hindsight, I have peace in knowing he knew how I felt about him.
For the men who need to improve in this area, here are a few creative ways to use our words in a powerful way beyond just saying them face to face or even on the phone.
I have seen men on Facebook and Instagram make posts about their spouses or children as they publicly express their love for them. This is a creative way for some men to share their feelings about their loved ones. I have also seen some men do this with their pastors as they turn to social media to express how good a sermon was last Sunday or how much they appreciate their church leadership.
Obviously, this might not be the most personal way to communicate. However, it is a unique way to share. The person receiving your words of affirmation can look back at your post years later as a simple reminder.
I find many have a hard time expressing their appreciation one-on-one with someone. It happens over time which is why we avoid it altogether. As we think of creative ways to share, maybe there’s an opportunity to share these words in a small group setting?
There are many creative ways to use our words to let the other person know how we feel without doing it one-on-one if that is too far out of our comfort zone. If you are working for a company, maybe you have an opportunity to praise one of your co-workers during your board meeting as they listen in. I have also seen people do this in Bible Studies as they praise a specific person during prayer.
I recently received a journal from my small group that encouraged me. It had pages and pages of kind words and loving messages. I don’t think I appreciated how powerful written words of love and affirmation could sometimes be.
When was the last time you wrote a love note to your wife in the morning or wrote a letter to your children letting them know how much you care about them? Written words seem a little more time-consuming and old-fashioned, but this is also a powerful way to share your words with others around you, so they know how you feel about them.
I still encourage every man to work on expressing his love and appreciation one on one in a verbal way, but if you can’t do that right now, that’s ok. Just remember and understand the power of your words. There are other unique and creative ways to affirm people with your words which could mean the world to that person.