Tuesday, June 14, 2011

3 opportunities, 4 cautions, and a FUN 6-word challenge

Sunday we’ll observe Father’s Day, and this offers you three memoir opportunities:

(1) Ponder your father’s impact on your life,
(2) examine God’s involvement in both your father’s life and yours, and
(3) write one or more vignettes.

While every father messes up sometimes, most possess redeeming qualities. They show love and commitment in various ways: They guide, teach, and encourage. They endure sub-freezing temps to cheer at high school football games and they dress up for father-daughter banquets.

Was or is your father a man of wisdom, godliness, and generosity? Hard-working, honest, and thoughtful?

If so, you’ll find it easy to write stories about him. Let his personality and character shine, but also create an accurate picture: Include his quirks and imperfections and how he worked on them.

Everyone knows: No one is perfect. While some fathers make responsible decisions and never consider failure an option, other fathers attract trouble. They habitually stumble into crisis and failure.

Perhaps your father abandoned you. How did his nonappearance affect who you are today?

Four cautions in writing your memoir:

(1) Resist humiliating people,
(2) avoid using your stories to get even,
(3) refrain from using your stories to get readers to pity or take sides with you, and
(4) remember the Golden Rule, recognizing you need others to do the same for you.

With those four cautions in mind, how did you deal with your dad’s flaws? What lessons have you learned about extending forgiveness and grace? Looking back, in what specific ways have you experienced that God is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and defends the cause of the fatherless (Deuteronomy 10:18)? If you have children, how did your father’s absence shape the way you relate to your kids?

If your dad abandoned you or if you’re a single mom—or if you know someone in such situations—this essay by Michele Weldon is a must-read. Click on “A Father is Born from Many Strangers” at http://thisibelieve.org/essay/45044

In writing one or more vignettes about your father, look for what God was doing even if you didn’t see it at the time. Search for evidence that God worked on your behalf, through the good and the bad, to bring you to today.

In light of your current knowledge and experience, what deeper lessons did God have for you in the events you write about?

Include your thoughts—even your struggles—to understand what was going on and how, over time, God made it clearer to you.

Do you now have a better understanding of God’s purpose for your life?

Connect your stories with God’s stories, and be sure to tell your children!

Here’s the fun six-word challenge I promised: Click over to Six Word Memoirs, http://www.smithmag.net/dads, and add your own six words on being a dad or on your relationship with your father.

Take a minute to look over other submissions. A couple of my favorites: “Loved me even without his memory,” and “Unloved son becomes an adoring father.”

Leave your six-word memoir below in the comments, or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spiritual-Memoirs-101/208789029139817), or e-mail me at GrandmaLetters@aol.com and put “Six-Word Memoir” in the subject line so it won’t look like spam.

Have fun!


  1. My father "tries to remain positive about life."

  2. Oh, Vicky, what a poignant set of words. They tell us that he has struggles, but also strives to be positive. Bless him for those honorable efforts. I'll post your six-word memoir over on the Facebook page too, for others to enjoy. Thanks for your inspiration.


  3. Here's a link to a beautiful post examining the flaws we find in our relatives and how to write about them appropriately and find the silver linings. You'll enjoy this! Check out this link:



  4. Here's a link to a sad yet lovely Father's Day post by one of our followers, Diana Trautwein. She writes, "It's been six years now, six years since my dad died.… And I miss him terribly almost every single day. Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you more than I can say." Here's a link to her post:



  5. Thanks for these great ideas for Father's Day. Not sure that I was able to pull off actual vignettes but I enjoyed the process of trying to put into words what the fathers in my life have meant to me. Thanks for your guidance and encouragement and inspiration. http://littlemomentsof.wordpress.com/

  6. Karen, your Father's Day post is superb! I hope everyone will hop on over and read it. Here's the link again:


    Thanks, Karen!