Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…


“But I loved her first and I held her first,

And a place in my heart will always be hers,

From the first breath she breathed, when she first smiled at me,

            I knew the love of a father runs deep,

                        Someday you might know, what I’m going through,

                                    When a miracle smiles up at you,

                                                I loved her first.”

                                                            “I Loved Her First”, Heartland


Everywhere, always and forever.

The words in that song convey the feelings of a father watching his daughter dance at her wedding reception with her new husband.  Those feelings have as much power and depth in that first glance as at any point in his life with her.  At least they should.  And they have that power and depth even were the “her” and “she” changed to “him”, “his” and “he”, to characterize the feelings of a father for his son.

Although the words are inspiring in their transformational power, and aspirational in how they paint the possibility of a nurturing relationship to be held through the years—they are only words too many times, in too many relationships with fathers and their daughters and sons. 

Too many fathers, despite all the possibilities in that first glance, lose their way in the midst of things they see as more important—work, other relationships and friendships, travel, selfishly seeking things, awards, recognition and affirmation for themselves.  They “cast their children aside.”  In that, their children lose and often suffer silently for years.  Worse, those children they cast aside too often (without intervention, healing and change) spread the same empty relationship to their own children, without knowing, and often with the same lack of caring.

I see it every day of my life, in the same people and different people, in the same settings and in different settings—time after time.

Born in 1969, our son was about eight when his Mom captured one of my favorite pictures of all time.  She envisioned it as we were walking through the woods, and snapped it from behind us—of Nathan looking up at me and me at him—amidst the changing colors of leaves on a cold fall afternoon in the mountains around Highlands, North Carolina.

            That picture is now framed alongside another of the two of us—of him as groom and me as his best-man—taken in August of 1994 at his wedding.  Part of the caption Nathan inserted in the matting of those pictures he framed together says…“Dad and Me, Friends since 1969…”

             The words in the song above by Heartland remind me of the feelings I held for him on the day he was born and every day thereafter.  My feelings held on the days those two pictures were taken and all days in between, and in the days since leading up to today.  Feelings that have grown stronger through the years in the ups and downs of our years together, and will continue to do so in the years to come.

            I see those same feelings in my son’s glances and in the words for his two precious girls—our two spectacular Granddaughters.  Everything they depend upon and trust is in him, and is conveyed to them in his glances, in his affirming words and approving smiles, in his strong hand of protection and gentle touch of comfort.  So much of what they feel about themselves comes from him. 

So much of what other little girls or boys feel about themselves comes from their fathers.  For their good, or not.

            If you’re struggling with that in your own life, or know someone who is, don’t miss these words in the song…

“When a miracle smiles up at you…”

            Maybe that’s the view fathers (and mothers) need to have of their children—one that see them as miracles.  Maybe that’s the view God intended for them to have.  Why not?  That when fathers (and mothers) look their child all over from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes—they realize that God’s still in the miracle business.  That’s what that little boy or that little girl is—a miracle.  And as they look upon that little miracle perhaps that father, perhaps that mother, will realize that’s what they are too—God’s miracles—despite the messages to the contrary they got from their own father or mother when they were little.

“I knew the love of a father runs deep,

Someday you might know, what I’m going through,

                        When a miracle smiles up at you,

                                    I loved her first.”

            I pray that will be the case for little girls and little boys, of all ages—

Everywhere, always and forever.


                                                                        In His Name—Scott


Copyright 2010.  Scott L. Whitaker.  All rights reserved.