An Interview with Ian Cron [Video]

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing my dear friend and neighbor, Ian Cron, about his new book Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts (Thomas Nelson). He is one of the best writers I know. I savored every word in the book.

Ian’s new book is about “the unfinished business of grace.” He had a very troubled relationship with his extremely talented but very disturbed father, who was an alcoholic and CIA operative. The book is beautifully written—poignant, sad, and funny. It touched me deeply.

Ian and I hooked up at the Thomas Nelson sales conference for this interview. During our time together, I asked him:

  • What is your new book about?
  • How did your relationship with your father affect your own parenting?
  • How important is it to ask forgiveness of our children?
  • What does your writing schedule look like?
  • When you sit down to write, are you usually inspired?
  • How do you balance writing vs. editing?
  • What are your favorite books on writing?
  • What is the single most important thing you can do to be a successful writer?

You might also want to subscribe to Ian’s blog and follow him on Twitter.

I gave away 50 copies of Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.
Question: How has your relationship (or lack of relationship) with your father influenced whom you have become? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

    I like Ian’s phrase – “the unfinished business of grace”. That’s expressing a lot of emotions in one pithy statement!

    One major thing my father taught me by word and deed is discipline. He is not perfect; but he has an admirably disciplined life style. That has greatly helped me in what I am doing today. I thank God for him!

    • Jmhardy97

      Yes, how many times do you hear that fathers teach discipline. What a positive impact.

      Jim

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    What an inspiring story. So many times we credit failures and short-comings to the patterns of our lives. It’s great to see someone live out God’s grace and show the world that God changes people and patterns can be broken.

    Is grace ever finished until we reach complete sanctification? It would do us good to remember this.

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree Chris. His story is inspiring and motivational.

      Jim

  • Matumary

    I don’t recall being close to my father as a child or seeing him much as I was in boarding school and away at Uni. However as an adult I find that we have found a way to rebuild that relationship. Certain aspects of my life are influenced by my father….keeping time and i thank him for that.

    • Jmhardy97

      I to did not have a close relationship with my father and I have tried to change that with my children.

      Jim

  • Vwmashni

    enjoyed the interview and would love to read the book please.

  • Jenn

    It fnluenced my relationship with how io looked at fathers. My Dad was quiet and a catholic priest before meeting my Mom and have kids late in life. There were over 50 years between us, we worked at our relationship all the time. I find it now I looked for an older husband than
    A younger one of course only by 5 years. I struggle with God feeling like he doesn’t understand what I went through being 26 loosing my mother and my Dad being in the nursing home with damencia and unable to talk or walk well.

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      I think I’d like to read your memoir. 

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree.

      Jim

      • Eccle0412

        Me too! Jenn, Ian wrote down his story.

  • Rick DeVries

    My father and I were never that close and we both seemed to struggle with conversations when together. He died a half dozen years ago and I miss him more than I ever thought I would. I’ve tried to be much more deliberate with my sons – telling them I love them, that I’m proud of the men they’ve become, that they can do it and I’m here for them.

    • Jmhardy97

      Rick, many have said that the biggest regret is not spending time with your family.

      Jim

  • revitupmethodist

    My dad has been gone for 2 years now. He grew up as the son of a sharecropper in rural Alabama, became the first in his family to go to college and then spent 35 years with Coca-Cola retiring a step below a vice president – One big thing I learned from him was to treat everyone the same – respectfully and with integrity. He was a man of his word.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Wow, what an amazing story. He sounds like an inspiring person!

      • Jmhardy97

        I agree Beck.

        Jim

  • Jviola79

    Something about this interview touched me deeply. What a gentle & humble man. I loved his expression “unfinished business of grace”. Grace never has an end. May I remember that always & extend it to others to the end of my life.
    Thank you so much for interviewing this man & sharing it with the rest of us!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved that phrase, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1163689012 Greg Grubb

    My father and I were never close, and now his health and his mental clarity is in sharp decline and I am the sole care-giver. I have finally decided to give him as much grace as I can, recognizing that he was a better father than his dad was, and I hope I am becoming a better, but still imperfect, father than him. It is still a daily struggle, however……

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com Bschebs

      I think that is the key,  If each generation can be a little better. Learn the good and the bad from the one before.

  • Allison

    Two principles that my father always used to repeat to us as children were: 1) wherever you get in life, you never got there alone so once you reach a new level in life (regardless of whether that be in your professional, personal or spiritual life) it’s your duty to turn around and help another person (somone who wants or seeks help) reach that same level. 2) never complain until you’ve done something to try to fix the source of the complaint.  These are principles that I wasn’t only told, I was shown and continue to be shown through my father’s actions and attitude.  And thanks to the coherence of his words and his actions, I feel I have grown into someone who also embodies those two principles, which I believe make me the strong and compassionate person I am today.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Those are two beautiful principles. Thanks for sharing them.

    • Jmhardy97

      Allison,

      Thank you for sharing. Those are two very good principals for all of us to take note of.

      Jim

  • http://twitter.com/Bpinches Ben Pinches

    My dad was a really hardworking person, he taught me that nothing in life comes for free. This work ethic has influenced greatly who I’ve become for better and worse. I have to continually watch that I’m not continually striving. He wasn’t a particularyverbal in his praise, I’ve been very intentional to speak words of affirmation continually to my two girls.

  • Matt Lee

    I was not blessed with the presence of my father. But I was blessed with a grandfather, uncle, and then around age a step-father. Each man developed me in their way and with their passions and convictions as well as their flaws. My grandfather was the heart and soul of the family. I have so much love and joy in my life because of his approach to life. I love the outdoors because of my uncle. He took me under his wing to hunt and fish when his kids were too young. And then my step-dad is the reason for who I am today. Values and loyalty and respect as well as unselfishness. He led by example with that last one by marrying a woman who had a kid. I am so grateful for my perfect “unperfect” upbringing.

    Ian’s words to “show up” are exactly what I need to here to finish what I start in order to get to that “perfect paragraph”. I can’t get to that place in my life unless I show up for all the other days first.

    • Matt Lee

      *age 6

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      So true. “Showing up” was great advice.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a great encouragement to grandfathers and uncles to reach out to the fatherless. We can make a difference!

      • http://www.facebook.com/angie.kinsey1 Angie Kinsey

        I can say without reservation that without my Grandparents, Aunties, and Uncles….I would be dead or in prison. Definitely reach out. The need is so great here in the US that it doesn’t seem like there are enough of us, but sometimes just a few words of encouragement or a few moments with a person of integrity can give a child (like me) the courage to live, move on, seek God and rise above.

        • Jmhardy97

          Angie,

          I am glad things have worked out for you!

          Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      It is great to have rolemodels to follow after.

      Jim

  • http://twitter.com/JenniferLynKing Jennifer King

    A fantastic yet subtle interview of a writer with a strong and dedicated discipline of writing — thank you, Michael, for sharing! I look forward to reading this book. I especially appreciate Ian’s sharing of his writing process, and also, of his willingness to tell his children when he is sorry. Wonderfully inspiring. Thank you.

    • Jmhardy97

      Jennifer,

      It is great to hear how people who are successful have gone through trials. His was a great story.

      Jim

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    Fabulous interview! I feel encouraged by his great advice!  I would love to write from 6 to 12, mornings are very productive for me. Unfortunately my 7 and 3 year old have a different agenda. I can usually get away with an hour or two in the morning and then maybe another hour at nap time. But I usually find myself writing at night until very late, sometimes 2am, which just leaves me in an ugly cycle of fatigue. My husband and I are still trying to find out what it looks like to have a working mommy at home.

    Ian’s book sounds intriguing, father’s are important people. I lived with an angry but good father. We had some wonderful healing moments in college and my early adulthood. I’m thankful for my dad’s ability to say I’m sorry. Powerful words to a child!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think different schedules work at different seasons in your life. The key thing is to find a schedule that works for THIS season.

    • Jmhardy97

      WOW, you are right. I am sorry are most likely the two most powerful words a person can say. We all forget how important they are.

      Jim

  • http://www.facebook.com/Knapsack Jeff Gill

    I’m fortunate, at least among my friends & peers, to have a good, friendly relationship with my father, who is still with us at a healthy & vital 77. But I will admit to realizing years back that his generally undemonstrative nature has had me always pursing at least a bit of public approval & appreciation in ways that make me cringe in retrospect . . . but given that Dad’s way was to urge and urge and nudge firmly towards a goal, then nod briskly and move on to another subject when the task was completed or the objective earned, I think I know where that satisfaction seeking comes from.

    In my own way, I’ve tried to round off that impulse by making an effort to let *him* know that he’s succeeded and done well in the matters that are important to him (like seeing his children thrive and achieve for themselves), but he’s not much interested in acknowledging that, either! It does give me a measure of peace, though, knowing I’ve been able to give that gift to him. But it is nice to hear someone, somewhere, say “well done, thou good and faithful servant . . .”

    • Jmhardy97

      That is wonder Jeff, You are very fortunate!

      Jim

  • Ramon Presson

    As a writer I enjoyed this interview tremendously about the writing process. I’m currently almost finished with Ian’s book and I wrote him & told him I’m going to have the CIA “take him out” because I don’t the need the literary competition from him right now in my career.  I’m telling people more about Ian’s book these days than i’m telling them about my own!  To the wonderful father figure in my life since my 20′s I sent a copy for his birthday–it should arrive today.

    I’ve had only one other book speak to me as a man and as a writer the way this book does–and that is Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire. Ian’s story, with its hybrid of humor and poignancy, has single lines that alone are worth the price of the book to me. As a writer, Ian is a craftsman. He is uniquely gifted but I also appreciate as is reflected in this interview that the craft matters enough to him to spend hours upon hours at the wheel to get the shape and texture just right.

    • http://twitter.com/rbohlender rbohlender

      That Ken Gire book is amazing…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ian is definitely a craftsman. I love the way he turns a phrase.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1087793110 Kathleen Carol Langridge

    I went through many years as a very needy person not knowing who I was meant to be, even as a Christian. I never knew my biological father, as such and my step dad was the only real dad I had. He was distant but he tried. All of this drove me into a deepening relationship with my heavenly Father and it is to him I cling. As the reality of his love penetrates my being I share his love with those he brings my way.

    • Jmhardy97

      I am glad you have a great and loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. That is wonderful!

      jim

  • http://www.ebroussard.com/ ebroussard

    The lack of relationship with my father has focused me on
    building/maintain a better relationship with my girls. I have been blessed. Thanks
    for the interview and I look forward to reading the book.

  • Cshultz

    There are a great deal of people out there who struggle with their relationship with their father.  That translates over  to their relationship with their heavenly father.  God is the only perfect father and the ability to grasp who God really is life changing. 

    Thank you for portraying our Heavenly Father in a way that hits  home to so many of us. 

  • http://twitter.com/Markaholden Mark Holden

    My father and I have become closer as I’ve grown older.  My mother has Multiple Sclerosis and while I struggled to understand it and became bitter at times, my father has taught me patience, perseverance and the ability to love unconditionally.  To me he embodies this grace.  

  • http://foreignperspective.wordpress.com/ Jake Olson

    my relationship with my dad has made me want to have a relationship with my kids that matters and forms who they are in good ways, because that’s what my dad did.  He taught me to love the Lord, to work hard, to love the land, to invest in his family and to love his wife.  Those are things that I find myself aspiring to more and more as I get older and older.  Being a father of a 1- year old and a 3- year old, I find myself asking myself over and over again “what kind of life do I want to provide for my kids?” The answer deep in my heart is that I want to provide a childhood as wonderful as the one that my dad provided for me. 

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    Although my father died two years ago (when I was 19), I could not have had a more loving and giving father. All positive things and actions in my life are a result of him.

  • http://sheliamullican.com Shelia

    This is a fabulous book!! Engaging, entertaining, troubling, inspiring, provocative, beautiful.

    My father and I had some pretty significant challenges in the growing up years, but one gift he gave me for which I am terribly grateful is that he stoked my curiosity. He still loves to learn. He travels and reads and asks lots of questions. And listens to the answers. :) I hope I am like him in this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved your review of Ian’s book. For anyone reading this comment, check it out!

      • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

        This review introduced me to another great writer – Sheila Mullican.  I plan to buy a copy of Cron’s book today.  If I should be so fortunate as to win one, I will give it to my father as a gift!  

        • http://sheliamullican.com Shelia

          Thanks, David, for your kind words. If you give away your free copy, be sure to buy one for yourself. You will love it. :)

      • http://sheliamullican.com Shelia

        Thanks, Mike. :)

    • Jmhardy97

      Wow shelia, he sounds like a great man.

      Jim

  • Johnrudolf Adriano

    Although I didn’t get what I usually wanted at the moment, my Dad naturally gave/provided me everything I needed without holding back.. He spoke my love language and influenced me to freely and lovingly do the same to others

    • Jmhardy97

      That is awesome!!

      Jim

  • SArnold

    My dad and I were not close growing up mainly due to my parents divorcing when I was eight; however, I prayed for him to find the Lord as I attended a Christian university in Indiana–a decision he didn’t understand when I was choosing colleges.  After college our relationship began to flourish and as he introduced me to his friends he would say, “This is my daughter and she’s a hard act to follow.”  I never gave up on my dad. I learned from him that a father’s love is unconditional, even when he didn’t understand my choices.  My dad went home to be with the Lord five years ago after his life ended abruptly in a motorcycle accident.

  • Troop1120

    My father taught me the value of responsibility, hard work, and integrity.  Regardless of what profession you are in, these three traits will serve you very well. 

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    FATHER KNOWS BEST

    My Dad taught me a lot as he raised me, including how to work hard, and persevere under pressure. But sometimes what he didn’t teach me seems to have a greater affect on my life. In my 20′s, I used to get angry at a sense that I had been tossed into the “real” world ill prepared, and it wasn’t until I had had enough time to reflect on the profound limitations each of us face (especially fathers) that I was able to come to terms with what I felt was a profound lack. Now when  I think about  having my own children, it’s not without at least a little fear: I’ll never be able to teach them everything I think they should know, and even if I were in fact able, there would be no guarantee that it would be what they would need.

    • Jmhardy97

      I am glad you learned from these lessons!

      JIm

  • Rpadron02

    I remember being fearful because I didn’t want become the kind of person my dad was although I thought I was destine too. But that want the case!

  • http://www.facebook.com/farley.lafferty Farley Lafferty

    Never knew my real father. But through God’s grace and my stepfather I submitted to his wishes in going to technical school to be an architect. That submission changed his mind and he assisted me in following my call to ministry and sent me to bible college.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    APOLOGIES Ian’s comment has me thinking. In our effort to correct our parents’ unwillingness to apologize, I wonder if our children will respond with some other, unforeseen complaint. Future memoirs will tell. 

    • Joe Lalonde

      Bret, I see following generations taking a wide swing opposite of how they were raised and then new complaints rising from that.

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        Probably all our fate beneath the sun. But I wonder what that complaint, —of too many apologies— might actually be? “My Dad was too soft? I needed broader shoulders? His copious errors left me without a sense that he could show me the way?” Who knows.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Just do the best that you can and that’s all that you can do.

      • Jmhardy97

        I agree Joe.

        Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      That is a good point. It sure makes you think.

      Jim

  • Mike Waggoner

    Growing up, my father was not a Christian…in fact, he was very antagonistic towards God and all things Jesus. Whenever my mother, my siblings and I would pray over our meals, he would make as much noise as possible while we were praying. I was determined to be a Christian father for no ther reason than the chaos I saw while growing up.
    Just before I got married, my father changed; he softened and finally gave in to the loving advances of Jesus and became a follower. My wife thought I had exaggerated about him since all she knew of him was a kind, gentle man. Before he died, he told me that he had wished that he had come to Christ when he was younger…that he wished he could have been the husband and father that he saw in me. He went to his grave knowing that he had influenced me to be the man he saw and was glad that what he perceived as a failed life, was influential in creating a beautiful Christian family.

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Great interview! I look forward to reading Mr. Cron’s book and blog. 

    My father has been a huge influence on my life and therefore my writing.  He is an amazing Christian with a faith purified through adveristy. He and my mother buried their first child when a freak mishap from a physician’s test caused my brother to bleed to death.  Dad, who never made much money but worked very hard,  donated the small settlement he got from an insurance company to build a playground at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church in Pensacola.  I have been truly blessed to grow up with this man’s shining example. 

    You both mentioned two of my all-time-favorite books (King’s “On Writing” and Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”). Have you ever interviewed these writers? Do you have other favorites?

    Thanks again for launching my day and week with an inspiring message!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502322520 Tommy Lane

    My father was a career military man whom I admired very much. I always wanted his approval but it didn’t always work out that way. When I was a teenager, we were at loggerheads a lot. In many ways we were alike, but in some so different. I joined the Navy when I was 17 to get away from him thinking I would have freedom, when of course, I had less freedom and more rules and regulations than ever.  Guess who I missed the most when I was away from home? He missed me, too. I got more letters from him than almost anyone. He died in the 80s and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.

  • CW

    I met Ian Muller Cron many years ago at a youth retreat in Pennsylvania. At the time, I was taken by his music and his captivating speaking style.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Small correction: Ian Morgan Cron.

  • David Manning

    This book touched me deep into the core of my soul.  My life was very similar to Ian’s with regard to our father’s.  I actually laughed (while on an airplane) and cried while reading this book.  I can’t stop thinking about it. 

    For the sake of Ian’s great writing style I’m planning on picking up his other book; Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale.  Thank you Ian and thank you Michael.

    • Jmhardy97

      I had not herd of that book. Thank you for sharing.

      Jim

  • Anonymous

    I have a great dad and our relationship affects a lot. I knew I was capable, beautiful, and loved. I also knew what to look for in a husband.

  • Frank

    With five brothers and five sisters, I grew up in a big Roman Catholic family and hardly knew my father. He was not that mean to me but often harsh; he had a lot of challenges and took out his pressures particularly on me for some reason, possibly because he had wanted me to become a Catholic priest and I opted out. I started to rebel in my late teens and left home and country at 19, got married and returned after five years with my own family, I understood him a little more and our relationship healed, especially after I came to faith, he remained a Catholic but I believe he was born again before he died.

    Dad primarily taught me to fear God and to think of the poor, he was a simple honest man who struggled to make ends meet but did his best for his family, though he was often misunderstood.

  • David Adeola

    Maybe my story is slightly different and had a father who went to be with the Lord a few years ago! He taught me about discipline, integrity and timeliness. BUT the greatest of these is always accomplishing the seemingly little things and not looking for the thanks! I did not know my father was ministering in the Prison until he passed away and I inherited his Bible and saw some of his sermons! As much as I’m a leader what I enjoy most is making a difference quietly by applying grace in people’s lives especially those the church will not touch with a Barge pole and seeing the transformation in later days! Grace is indeed always available!

  • Laurabo

    I would love a copy of this book. sounds great!

  • http://parchmentgirl.com Kate Scott

    My father instilled in me a love of learning, knowledge, and books by example. He is also a very passive person. Growing up, he rarely took action when it was needed, so as a result I became the opposite type of person that always tries to fix everything. 

    • Jmhardy97

      It is very interesting how we learn and change based on our parents experiences.

      Jim

  • Susanna Boyer

    As a child, I didn’t pay that much attention to the fullness of the love my father has for me.  He was just “My Daddy”.  But as I’ve grown and matured, I’ve realized how fragile my father is.  He cannot read or write, and had a brain injury from a severe car accident when I was a baby. He functions on the level of a 7 year old child.  Over these past several years, I have learned so much patience and compassion for everyone around me – because of my “My Daddy”.  Last year he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma and had to undergo a grueling 6 months of chemotherapy.  He was scared, as was the whole family.  He would cry when we were going to the Oncologist appointments and then keep saying “I’m sorry”…I would  just hug him and cry with him and tell him everything’s going to be OK.  I love him so much!  We go for his 9 month checkup next week, and just pray everything is still clear. 
    I have become a  much better person because of “My Daddy”.  He has taught me to love stronger, be more compassionate, to be more patient, and to have a Servant’s Heart…I love helping where ever I am needed.  “Here am I, Lord. Send ME!”

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com Bschebs

      Thanks for sharing your personal story.  Touching and amazing that even through everything going on with him, he is still your “daddy”.

    • Jmhardy97

      Susanna,

      great story. thank you for sharing.

      JIm

  • mlpk625

    i’ve often heard it said that how you view your father influences how we
    view our Heavenly Father–and for some, it may begin in deficit–but,
    for me, it made me draw closer to my Heavenly Father for he exhibited so
    much of our Heavenly Father’s love for me.  After 2 boys, I was born
    and I remember to this day as a child my mother would tell me, “you
    know, your father said we wouldn’t stop having children until he had a
    girl”–from the very beginning I have always felt special! 

    I
    look forward to reading this book–and sharing it with a friend who is
    in the same line of work and dealing with conflict with her father right
    now–and needing to learn of grace.

  • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

    I had a wonderful father who died in 1993 – I miss him still. He was my guiding post, my encourager; he taught me to stand up tall and stand up for God. After he died I felt lost for quite a while. But Jesus called me back and essentially took his place. I knew Jesus before but now I  really KNOW Him. I love this video about how a Dad can influence his children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htgPh3DalmM&feature=player_embedded
    Jan

    • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

      What a beautiful video. I have shared it with friends already this morning. As a father of two teenage boys, I am keenly aware every time I start to roll through a stop sign that 4 eyes are on me, always.  Thanks.

      • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

        Thank you David. I sent it to my kids and kids-in-law. One son-in-law just found out they were expecting so this is a great time for him to read it. Thank the Lord that both my father and my husband were great role models for their children. Yes – stop at those stop signs because when you teach your teenager to drive they will do what you do or did.
        Blessings,
        Jan

        • Jmhardy97

          That was powerful. I will share it with others.

          Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      Great video!

      JIm

  • Anonymous

    Two years ago, I became the senior pastor of the church my dad pastored for 29 years.  To be honest, I resisted this call for a long time because I wanted to make sure that it was God calling me to do this and that I wasn’t just trying to make my dad proud of me.  

    My dad’s father died when he was only 8 years old.  His mother was a very godly lady, and what she could not provide materially, she more than made up for it with the spiritual heritage that she passed down to my dad and his siblings, and that he passed on to his children.

    Dad is known for his work ethic, love of learning, humility, prayer, and love of Scriptures.  He is also known for always bringing someone to church with him.  Since my childhood, he almost never came to church with an empty seat in his vehicle.  He always found a family or group of children that needed a ride and brought them with him.  There is no telling how many of these began a relationship with Christ as a result of his efforts.

    Although we still have different opinions and ideas about how things should be done, I still respect him greatly for the sacrificial life that he has lived in service for His God towards others.  

  • http://sugarpeach.wordpress.com/ Evangeline Han

    I am not particularly close to my father, but this is something he has taught me so far. My dad likes things to be well done. If there is one thing he absolutely dislikes, it is tasks done halfheartedly. If I or any of my siblings ever did our tasks halfheartedly, we would receive a sound lecture from him. I guess that this helped kept me on my toes. After all, I’d rather do a task properly than risk a scolding.

  • Anonymous

    Two books I might recommend:  Ron Reagan’s My Father at 100 and Andrew Himes’  The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family.  Although I have some disagreements with each author’s philosophical outlooks, I was moved by Reagan’s description of his relationship with his dad and by Himes’ relationship with his family at large, but especially his grandfather.

  • http://leehoover.com Lee Hoover

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    My parents divorced when I was young because my dad couldn’t kick a drug and alcohol habit. I held it against him for 20 years, feeling sorry for myself for missing out on the typical (and not so typical) father-son experiences. Over the last two years or so, through the Grace of God and Christ’s work in my life, I’ve been able to look at my Dad in a different light. Now I’m more thankful for what we have than bitter for what we lost.   

    I suppose my relationship with my dad has made me more independent, for better or worse. Independence from your father can be a killer though. Sometimes you need that relationship, no matter how broken it may be. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/happypostalvan Raymond Schwedhelm

    Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, come alive through God’s grace. When we see each other through the eyes of Jesus, we see ourselves and are blessed by His presence.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    My dad was my greatest mentor. He had three things that made him special. He always had a positive attitude, he built up other people, and he loved to exercise. Those three attributes kept him going until the age of 94. I just hope to be able to emulate those qualities myself.

    • Jmhardy97

      Wow 94. I hope I can have a positive impact on others for that many years!

      Jim

  • J Tallant

    Friends of mine talk of how they learned how to work on cars or how build furniture or repair things around the house from their fathers. My dad took our car to be repaired, bought our furniture, and called my brother-in-law to fix things around the house. But, the one thing my dad excelled at was showing up. He never missed a game, performance, and rarely missed even a practice. He worked 12-14 hour days, but still showed up. Now that I think about it, he probably had to work long hours because he took time to show up.

    I’ve learned how just showing up can have a huge impact.

  • Tonda Solomon

    My father came from humble means, but was able to provide us a comfortable middle class world.  What amazed me, not until I was much older, was the overwhelming love he extended to us.  He disciplined me on many occasions and I knew a certain look meant that I was walking a thin line, but there was never a day in my life that I didn’t know one truth -  I and my brother and my sister were our father’s prize, extravagant trophies he didn’t deserve.  On many occasions, as he hugged me tightly, he would say, “This is Daddy’s heart.”  I have never doubted my Father’s love for me as a result of my Daddy’s love.  His pattern of discipline and forgiveness give me hope when I’ve crossed the line with God.  He didn’t have these things patterned in his own life.  Perhaps that is what made him extend them so beautifully into mine.  My siblings and I have each walked through heart-wrenching times in our adult lives when it would have been easy for faith to be crushed beyond repair.  Our understanding of how true love works, because of the love of a funny, uneducated hardworking man, caused us to rush into the arms of our Father rather than turn our backs on Him. 

  • Daphne

    My father is someone who has a tendency to find fault with many things, a critical, judgemental and pessimistic personality.  However, he does not possess a harsh personality, a commando or an army-general type of criticalness. I’m able to pray and even seek God, however, I don’t generally expect to be blessed by him.  I’ve also realised just how challenging it is for me to receive His Love, and think that He finds fault with me, because of the manner of my thinking (often discouragement, pessimism), or the lack of faith that has incurred his disappointment with me. I find it challenging to understand that His forgiveness of sins, actually imply ALL sins, all unrighteousness. That there is nothing in me that qualifies or disqualifies me from savouring the full benefits of the Kingdom or as a child of God.  That I’m deserving of favor, blessings and the depth of his love, in spite of anything about me or my performance.  I’ve found it difficult to feel comfortable in my own skin – just being me, and that God loved me.  It has been hard for me to just tell God that I loved him, and especially when I wanted something (e.g. a spiritual gift) from Him; I felt that I needed to list a host of reasons to qualify me for receiving this gift. As a result, I try extremely hard to achieve results, I work in work, in ministry, in relationships – I work extremely hard at these things, often independantly from God, because I’ve seen him more as a taskmaster than a helper, a loving Father who is involved. I’ve become someone who’s needing to be confident apart from my works, needing to feel loved apart from any qualifications other than the blood of Jesus that has qualified me.   DY

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.marklowitz Shannon Doering Marklowitz

    Wow…what an inspiring story. I think most people have some crud or another to work through. And to have it so in your face, and be intentional about changing that is key. It is inspiring to see how Mr. Cron has used his “lack of a realtionship” with his father to change that in the way he parents his children….be humbled to offer the apology. What a true testament to how God says….I know you are sorry child, and I forgive you…
    As we are moving forward in the adoption from foster care process, and still parenting 3 of our 5 children that are still minors, this has made me think about dealing with the hurts of the three children that we are hoping to parent, and how different it will be to heal from hurts that we didn’t cause. But it will be so essential to the lives of these three children to heal from those past hurts, even though they may not get a chance seek a face to face contact with those that hurt them and abandoned them….

  • Stacey Westbrook

    My father was mostly absent throughout my life due to a severe drug additction, and although I lived with my mother, she also suffered from a severe drug addiction as well. I praise God today that they are both clean. The difference here is, my father has admitted to his wrong doings, his negligence and absence, and we have a wonderful relationship today. (unlike my mother) The life I lived as a child and growing up has lead me to become a (very young) teen mother 18 years ago. But it has also given me the drive to be different, to be a successful statistic! I am now a happily married mother to 5 boys, a nurse, and a writer (wannabe) and a speaker! All by the Grace of God!

  • http://www.susanbaganz.com Susan Baganz

    My relationship with my father left me with a gaping hole. I know my father loves me – but he rarely said it, never affirmed me to my face. I would hear from others that he was proud of me – but i never heard it from him. He was a workaholic and told me to “to follow my dreams” but also discredited some of those dreams. I’ve had to learn to fill that “father-hole” with my Abba – but those messages from the past hard to escape. When I needed rescue from my dad – he would not defend me or protect me.  I know now that he was fearful and intimidated but that doesn’t lessen the feeling of abandonment that goes with that. “Unfinished work of grace” – I like that phrase – I’m still – even after 30 years of walkign with Jesus – am trying to grasp what it means to live in grace.

  • Kara

    Although I was blessed to have a healthy relationship with my father throughout my childhood and young adult life, it was not until my adult years (and the raising of my own children) when it truly began to flourish.  He was always an encourager– regardless of the grave mistakes I made and was always able to see the silver lining in every difficult situation.  He and my mom raised me in a legalistic religious environment, and yet (looking back) there was something that was very different about my Dad.  I now recognize it as Grace– although it was not a “religious” word that I remember being taught in our church or home.  I did not understand what Grace was until well into my adult years.  For several years, I felt robbed of a life without Christ because I always thought it was about what I could do to earn eternal life, not what Christ did for me. 
    Just a few years ago, both my Dad and I–independently and 1200 miles apart–began to develop a true relationship with our Father.   It was then that our own relationship deepened and strengthened in a new way.  He emulates the Father’s love closer than any father I have seen (second to Jesus, of course).  He is my best encourager and biggest fan.  He demonstrates the love of Jesus in everything he does every day–right down to cleaning toilets.  He is my hero. 
    I am certain that his encouragement and support has given me the freedom to try–and fail– at many things.  But his example of trying–and failing at times–to love like Christ is better than not trying at all. 
    Today I am a Children’s Ministry director at my church and am confident my road to get here (as I believe it is God’s plan) would have been much more difficult to navigate if it had not been for my father’s influence in my life. 

    Look forward to reading Ian’s book!

  • http://www.facebook.com/angie.kinsey1 Angie Kinsey

    I was a very angry kid. But, I’m a stronger person for having known my father. He was ‘eccentric’ and disturbed in many ways, but as flawed as he was…he still loved me. I was there for him in the end as he took his last breath. I know he was grateful for that and so was I.

  • Chase

    I had/have a somewhat strange, and sometimes rocky relationship with my father.  He and my mom got divorced when I was 3, so I only got to see him on the weekends.  He worked about 80 or more hours a week, so even when I went to stay with him, I didn’t see him.  Further, when I became a Christian and made certain committments regarding my faith, he severely ridiculed me.  He was very encouraging to me in my academic life, however.  I always showed promise in school, and I think he wanted me to become an engineer like him.  When I showed more interest in becoming a missionary, and more presently, a writer and teacher, I feel like he was dissapointed in me.  Today, I find myself often seeking his approval.  I either want to make him proud of me, or want to prove him wrong in some way – to show him that there is value in what I do.  These thoughts seem to seep into my everyday life and affect my relationship with those who genuinely love me for who I am, like my wife.  These thoughts also often affect my writing – I find myself writing things that I think my dad will like, and losing myself and my passsions along the way.

  • Carletta

    My relationship with my father was very hard when I was young. I am the oldest and I was supposed to be perfect. After all, he married the smartest girl in school. However, I had some of the same learning disabilities he had and struggled with learning. I worked very hard to please him but it seemed I could not do anything right even when I did it the way he said to do it. When my sister came along, he found the apple of his eye. She was perfect and could do no wrong. I worked very hard to receive good grades, but even an A wasn’t good enough for him. I struggled for years with how I perceived our relationship until I read the book “Silver Boxes”. This book helped me to put our relationship in proper perspective and see the larger picture of my Dad. He had always been the outsider of his family. When my son was diagnosed with mild to moderate Autism, I began researching Autism. Then I finally had the key to what had been our main problem. My daddy has many autistic traits and I have some as well. Our relationship isn’t perfect but we have learned to accept each other as we are and not try to change each other. Our relationship has helped me to be a stronger person than I believe I would have been without it. I believe I am a better person because of the struggles we had to overcome. I never heard my father say I am sorry but my children have heard it many times. Sometimes even momma has been in timeout to keep me from saying or doing something I would later have to say I am sorry I had done it. Life isn’t perfect but that seems to be how I learn the most about myself and those around me. I am blessed even when it doesn’t always go according to my plan but it is better when it goes according to God’s plan!

  • http://www.inspiredreflections.info Deborah J. Thompson

    My father was only 20 years old when I was born and we had a rough time growing up together. He angered easily and I often felt the impact of that anger. I did feel loved, but also very inadequate. 

    It was not until my grandmother on my mother’s side committed suicide in 1996, that my father finally admitted his mother had done the same thing–3 years before I was born, when my dad was only 17 years old.

    Suddenly, my entire childhood made perfect sense. I felt such compassion for the wounded young man who raised me. He did the best that he was equipped to do at the time, carrying baggage that I could never have imagined. 

    Growing up as his daughter made me strong. It made me strive to improve myself and when I look in the mirror each day, I am proud of the woman who looks back at me. I have to give my dad much of the credit for that sense of self.

    I am happy to say that my dad and I have finished the “business of grace” in our relationship and have made peace with the past. I now feel blessed to have been raised by him and grateful that we both finally grew up!

  • Jack Lynady

    Great Question. The Father Wound http://ow.ly/1tSVOq often shapes the trajectory of a life. I love how he says sorry to his children. I do it at least a few times a week.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That is a great blog post Jack! Thanks for sharing.

  • FaithMurphyWorks.com

    I find that through my broken relationship with my father, I have become quite intentional with my children both in sharing my life experiences and in expressing my deep love and excitement for their lives.

  • Jmhaddix

    Thanks for this interview…it reminded me again of the discipline of “showing up” and trusting the process. I’m anxious to see the other books on writing you mentioned. Blessings!

  • Chuck Congram

    Many have experienced the trauma of getting what they didn’t deserve as a child from their dad. Mine was the experience of not getting what I truly did deserve. My father could neither physically embrace nor verbally affirm his love for me although he was a truly attentive and caring dad. The night of the visitation prior to his funeral was one of the most difficult experiences of my life listening to people telling me how proud my dad was of me and I was coping with the anger of wondering why you could tell so many people but never tell me. Only later did God allow me to see how difficult the family and world in which he grew up truly was. It was through that experience that I came to understand that every loss in life requires an appropriate season of grieving and that was a long and difficult but worthwhile journey.

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    I loved Ian’s advice…”If you have to get up and stare at a blank monitor for six hours, do it. Show up. It’s all about the discipline…” Heavenly days, I bet every author could lament that stumbling block at one time or another!

    I’m a PK and I was raised in a close-knit, demonstrative family. At an early age, my father taught me about Jesus, he instilled self-worth, he valued his children, and he honored God. I’ve tried to emulate these qualities with my own children, always remembering and giving thanks for my father’s desire to be a Christ-follower and a bridge-builder.

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com Bschebs

      I gotta ask, What is a “PK”?

      • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

        Preachers Kid.

  • http://darensirbough.tumblr.com Daren Sirbough

    Before I knew God as my Father in Heaven, Who my earthly father is has influenced my identity greatly. I don’t have a good Earthly father figure, but in God and in the amazing Men that God has put around me in my life, I have been shaped in a different way and God has by his grace helped me to become more like him. Praise God for that

  • http://www.mamasgonecrazy.wordpress.com Kristina

    Great interview! Considering my dad was a Music Minister and a alcoholic, I learned to hate the sin, not the sinner. His alcoholism took his life at the young age of 50. I was 15. His death has left me to have a passion for music, and to know that life is precious, every waking moment is special with your loved ones. 

  • Justo Nunez

    My father passed away when I was just 13, but he taught me a very important lesson.

    We were a refugee family leaving Cuba in 1960 when I was only 8 years old, coming to a new country and settling in Minnesota. My father had been the General Manager of the Chase Manhattan branch in Havana but was willing to do anything to provide for his family. His first jobs in the US included being a bank teller and delivering phone books door to door. It took a lot for him to start a new life and it took away much of his health … he died just 6 years after our arrival, at the age of 49.

    But the lesson he taught has stayed with me forever: There is always a way to start again. I learned that failure is an opportunity to start again more intelligently, and his decision to change our family life forever, to become Americans, has been the best “re-start” to a life that I and my siblings could have ever dreamed of. His value lives on in my life and has made me that much more confident through the ups and downs of a career in marketing. A lesson well learned, and appreciated.

  • Danfreda

    Without a doubt, the greatest influence my father has had on my development is through his  commitment to integrity. Throughout his marriage to my mother, he has not only remained faithful to her, but has been an amazing example of of how a godly man demonstrates fidelity and commitment to his wife.

    Never once did I hear the phrase, “you can watch this when you’re older,” or anything of the sort. He lived as an example for us, and for that I am extremely grateful.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m sorry!”  How many times did I know it was the right thing to say to my children, but I didn’t.   Thanks for remind me how important is this simple and meaningful phrase.  

    Two things my father taught me that has shaped my life as a parent: 1.  Reading.  I remember my dad laying on my bed every night and storytelling me asleep, and I remember him reading every month the Reader’s Digest.  He has a issues before 1940, inherited by his father.  I’m definitely a book driven parent, I try to imitate my father in this regard.  2.  Being honest to the end, no matter the consequences.  The phrase that I most remember from dad is: “you can lose every single penny, if you’ve been honest you will find someone to  help you out”. 

    • Joe Lalonde

      Ivanhoe, it is important to remember. They’re also great words to use in other areas of your life like friendships and marriage.

  • Audreymckay

    I did not grow up with my father but I’m actually thankful for that, not because he was a bad man (he seemed rather indifferent really) but because the void created a hunger in me that could only be satisfied by a loving, heavenly father. Because of my natural fathers absence, I pursued God with fervor and now know what a wonderful father I have in the everlasting God.

    • http://darensirbough.tumblr.com Daren Sirbough

      I’m so glad we as the next generation rising up don’t have to be ‘indifferent’ because of the great example we have in God our Father in heaven.

  • Jeanie

    As a daughter of a man who was probably one of the most intelligent and creative people I have ever known, yet one of the most difficult to live with, I am looking forward to reading this book.  I was an only child and had a deep need to please my parents–and God.  How I yearned for my father to ever say to me, “I’m so sorry.”  At a very young age I determined that I would not be afraid to say that to my own children.  Forgiveness for deep hurts, as well as acknowledgement that my father also played a huge part in inspiring me to be all I could be conflicted much of my life.  The outcome has been that at his death almost a decade ago, it was difficult for me to know how to grieve, and I suspect I still haven’t finished that process.  Yet God’s grace floods my heart and I acknowledge how much good stuff I learned from him, despite the flaws and his expectation of perfection from me. I am reminded that we all have good and bad inside us and some days the bad seems to win.  Thanks for letting us know about this book!

  • http://twitter.com/sweetsoup Sue Steege

    I loved both of my parents, but at 50 years old, I am realizing that my dad was the parent from which I received unconditional love. My mom, for various reasons was just not able to do that. So, when he died at 52, I lost so much. I miss him, still and would love to talk with him. I used to sit in the crook of his arm at church and listen to him hum the hymns. Powerful memory.

  • http://twitter.com/tammyhelfrich Tammy Helfrich

    I was extremely fortunate to have a father who showed me unconditional love, and gave me so many examples of how to show love to others. He passed away when I was only 14. However, his examples are still relevant and applicable to me today. God has continued to use those memories to help me learn how to show unconditional love to others.

  • Neil

    My Father was and is a good man, though we had a fairly profound disconnect when I was growing up. I’m not sure why or how, exactly, the disconnect happened, but I have come to appreciate and enjoy my father’s company now that I am older. I have two boys of my own now, and I want to let them know that they have value as boys, something that was missing for me. To do that, I feel the need to be thoughtful about who my dad was and who I am and who I want to be… and it’s also led me to consider the values that should make a man, at least the kind of man I admire. Seems very complicated at times, but I think Ian’s view of Forgiveness and saying “I’m sorry” helps to simplify it a bit. I’d love to read his story!

  • http://helengullett.com Helen Gullett

    It’s hard. My relationship with my dad was not so good when I was little. He is changed now but he still show a little bit of arrogance. I love him because God wants me to love him. Be honest, couple days ago I was praying and asking God to forgive my dad and I also asked God to give me his grace and mercy to totally forgive my dad. I didn’t realize that I still angry with my dad for what he did in the past. That was 2 days ago, and today I am still thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to learn more and more about his Grace. That’s why I say it’s hard now with my daughter. I pray and pray every single day that I am what I am in Christ, and wanna become a mom that God wants me to be for my daughter. Every time we discipline her, I always have the picture of my dad discipline us when we were little. I don’t like that. 

    My husband and I have several parenting book where we learn how to teach and train children, but this book is different. I really would like to read the whole book, wanna know what and how he went through. I am curious to know more…. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Val-Cole-Barnes/507956511 Val Cole Barnes

    Well in true honesty,
    My Father while in my life,  was not around a lot. And not that I blame him for life events, but a real lack of him IN my life lead me to go down wrong roads, into an abusive marriage, and just make some bad choices… His influence, seemed like a bad influence at first look. But one thing he did teach me, someone always needs help. He was always ready to help people when needed, no matter if it was snow blowing a driveway,  putting a new roof on a house, or a bag of groceries. He truly is a caring man, I just wish he could have taught me more.
    My Father’s parents died when he was 9 (Mother) and 11(Father). He was raised by his older siblings, and the neighboring farm families. So I figure (now) that he did the best he could, with what he had. Doesn’t take the pain away, but I guess when you can see others peoples pain, it makes your hurt a little less.

    Thanks for the offer, and a GREAT blog!!

  • Jerry

    My close relationship through the year with my father has allowed to see both his good and bad habits of my dad.  My dad has a tremendous work ethic and has led a successful life which I aspire to follow and lead.  However some of the things that make him great (such as his work ethic) means he is not as present or in the moment as a child would like their dad to be.  I’ve also been blessed to have a father-in-law who is an amazing father and provider.  I’ve seen the ways he continues to serve his kids and grandkids and how he is fully present in each moment which is incredible and how I want it to be for my kids.  I know the tendencies I have as a dad (and the ones I learned from my dad) and the habits I need to continually work on so that I can be the best father I can be.  It’s a true honor to be a father.  It has its ups and downs but I know the journey will be well worth it.

  • Anonymous

    My dad worked a lot of late evenings, so he was never at my extra curricular activities. I have made a point to be present as much as I can…I want my kids to remember I was there.

    On another note my dad was not a Christian, but I’m thankful that God taught me how to be a son. I honor my dad for being the best dad he knows how to be flaws and all.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Dean, it’s great that you can see where you dad lacked and try to improve on it. I think that’s one of the sad, but great, lessons we can learn.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    The first time I’ve truly put down a project I had passion about (in terms of writing) has been this year as I’ve written (or tried to write) a memoir about my father. He died when I was ten years old in mysterious, painful, bewildering circumstances. Being a fatherless girl all these years has taken its toll, but one of the most positive things that happened was that I had this insatiable desire for a daddy to love me. This drove me into the arms of Jesus, thankfully.

    My father was a literary genius, but he was warped. I’d like to think that Jesus took his gift, gave a smidgen of it to me, and allowed me to glorify God with my writing. In a small way, my father lives on through me.

  • Ruthie Dean

    It has taken quite a great deal of therapy and self-searching to realize the performance pressure I place on myself today comes from growing up with a dad who didn’t notice me unless I performed. I’ve run marathons, added an extra major at Vanderbilt, learned fluent Mandarin Chinese, crossed the world to help those less fortunate…partly because I wanted to, but also in hopes my dad would notice me one more time and say, “well done”.

    But even if my dad never tells me he’s proud of me again, I know my heavenly Father calls me “His beloved” and only requires me to trust Him. Joy!

  • John Whaley

    My relationship with my father has been a strained relationship for several years.  However, by simply showing grace and always being there for him, our relationship has improved over the past two years, especially since the death of my brother.   One thing I have learned through all of this is to always be there for my kids, keeping the lines of communication open.  Life is too short and too precious to let the little things become major obstacles.

  • TedG

    My relationship with my father has influenced who I am a great deal!  As many of my friends had Dads who were not very good, I happened to have a very godly Dad!  He was quiet yet a source of strength for me. While not perfect, he allowed me to make my own choices as a young adult, and still loved me and was there for me.

    I am 51 years old now. Most of what I learned about Fatherhood came from my Dad.  I have 11 children….and if I ever become half the good Father my dad was, I will be happy.

    I lost my Dad to cancer when he was 59.  I still miss him.

  • Michael

    My relationship with my father can be described as and distant and apathetic. In my youth he very much established a standard to which all men should seek to attain (not in terms of being an attentive and loving father but in just about every other way) but the standard was perhaps artificial because it came crashing down and took me with it. Without the love and attention there was simply nothing left to work with. He left when I was 17 and my life was thrown into chaos – a chaos that I still find myself sorting out 33 years later. It’s remarkable how foundational the relationship is between a father and son. I’m looking forward to reading Ian’s new book.

  • Eric B

    My dad’s legacy is simple- he treated everyone with respect.  He grew up in the South in 30s and 40s, a time when it was common to judge and assume based on skin color.  In my life, I never saw or heard my dad make a disparaging comment about anyone, especially those of other races.  He was a kind, giving, fun-loving dad.  His respect for people was repaid by witnessing the hundreds who came to his memorial service…

    I am also writing about my relationship with my dad, and would enjoy reading the book.  Looking forward to the interview!

  • Gimbloom

    It’s only by putting grace as the bridge between my father and I in the last few years of his life that we were able to have any sort of relationship.  Despite him doing the best he knew how, I harbored the anger of my expectations vs. reality.  Although not perfect, I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to forgive before he went Home.

  • Elizabeth Kitchens

    My father is a gentleman brimming over with knowledge in almost every subject imaginable; I am a young lady who loves to learn about almost every subject imaginable.  Unfortunately, my father has a tendency to pessimism and moodiness which makes sensitive me a little leery of broaching some subjects.  Writing is one of those subjects.  Writing is sort of a family curse and has led to a lot of seemingly wasted effort and unfulfilled hopes.  Not that my father has completely give up, he finished a book he started 30 years ago and is trying to publish my grandfather’s WWII memoirs.

    I thought I had avoided the family curse, but then two years ago it pounced on me.  Now, it’s got me by the hair, and I’ve got it by the tail and together we’re going somewhere, hopefully to bookshelves around the country.  Without my father’s and grandfather’s literary endeavors, I would never have dreamed of putting my daydreams on paper. 

  • Brucec

    My father’s dad sent him off to foster care as a child, so it’s interesting that he swung completely the other way.  He spent so much time with us and was very affectionate.  The only downside was his fear of legitimately disciplining us. Consequently, I see God the Father as a very near and affectionate, and am the same way with my kids, but don’t take well to discipline and/or structure of much any kind from God or anyone else.  

  • WVCNpastor

    My father has been part of my life for 50+ years…as a dad, provider, college administrator, SS teacher, and pastor, I saw him in a very positive light most days…his style and commitment to the GOSPEL has served me well as I entered pastoral ministry at age 46…I am the man I am because he is the father he has been and is today…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.stallings1 Jon Stallings

    It is so true what Ian said, to be a successful writer you have to show up.

  • http://jlgerhardt.tumblr.com Jennifer Gerhardt

    My dad was consistent and hard-working, mostly silent, and highly supportive of my successes. He liked my hair in a pony tail.
    Because of him, I married a man who is hard working. I realized that although I’d likely be a silent-type naturally, silence in my home could not be an option.
    And I often wear my hair in a pony tail.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Great interview Michael.

    Your question is timely for me. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot lately as my dad has had some health scares.

    My father and I have had a good relationship throughout my life. I think it may be an odd one to some due to the age gap. I was born when my dad was 55 years old. I don’t remember a lot of the things like playing ball with him or going on fishing trips. However, I do know he worked hard for us kids and my mom. He taught me the value of hard work and being consistent. He’s taught me that there’s a time to raise your voice and a time to be quiet. I know a lot of what he is has been instilled into me and for that I am grateful.

  • Jeff Scholen

    My father is/was a very  factual person….nothing offered in-depth as to who he is and what were/are his struggles. Because of this, I think, we were unable to connect relationally and therefore growing up, I was never validated as a young man. I had to make my own way which ultimately has left me aimless with a difficult time in relationship with others. Graciously, God gave me a woman who had the patience to love me through the process of recognizing that my validation has come from God….but at a price. 

    Fathers, your influence has a huge impact whether you do something with it or not.

  • RT63

    How has your relationship (or lack of relationship) with your father influenced whom you have become?

    I grew up a “daddy’s girl” and thought my father was super-human, knew everything and never did anything wrong.  During my early teenage years, as I began to take a more adult view of things, I started seeing cracks in his armor, but tried to ignore them.  I started going to church in college (1970s)  and struggled with how to continue loving my parents when they were not Christ-followers.  By the time my father died in 1994, I had settled into a loving & respectful relationship with my father.  I never doubted that Daddy loved me and so our relationship probably helped me accept my heavenly Father’s, love.  I was blessed with a positive earthly daughter-father relationship that helped me enter into a positive spiritual daughter-Father relationship.  Daddy taught me to listen carefully, think independently, and love unconditionally.  In the years since his passing, I’ve longed to talk things over with him, but have turned to my heavenly Father for comfort and wisdom.  I consider my father one of the greatest influences in shaping my character.

  • Jordan

    My relationship with my father has profoundly influenced my life. On one hand, he taught be how to lead, how to not be intimidated when facing opposition and the importance of knowing Scripture. Because of his upbringing there were certain aspects of manhood he shielded me from in my formation such as how to be a man around the house. I love and respect my father but realize my life is not to replicate his life, but to add to the positive example he set for me.

  • Jwalters

    The term “unfinished business of grace” describes my issues and relationship with my dad well.  Ironically as I sat to write this, my dad called and sang happy birthday to me on my voice mail.  As simple a gesture as it was, the thought occurred to me as I listened, that I should save this as a reminder of him when he is gone.  He still has an amazing singing voice at 83.
    Our relationship has grown over the past 10 years to where we say I love you and we give each other hugs which he always had a hard time with growing up.  But there still exists this lingering feeling of being judged by my dad. Even at the age of 60, I don’t quite feel as if I’ve measured up to his standards.  He pushed me as a child to do well in sports, usually telling me where I failed, pointing out my mistakes and seldom praising me. I give him credit for helping me achieve in sports and I’m so thankful that he instilled in me a foundation of faith and righteousness. But to this day he will make comments when I do or wear something that he doesn’t approve of and the feelings of not measuring up come flooding back. I don’t feel as if I’ve lived my life trying to please him or I would have certainly chosen a different occupation than the ministry.  I know that he is proud of me but it is this unspoken issue of our differences that seem to keep us from being more intimate and feeling as if I’m totally accepted by him.  I have resolved that it is a generational thing and to ‘that is just who dad is’. I am forgiving him of his mistakes and trying to take responsibility for my inability to give more love in return.  It is an ongoing process of giving grace and love that won’t be finished until we both get to heaven. 

  • George Lebeau Sr

    Until I became a father 29 years ago I don’t think I had understanding fo unfinished grace.  All fathers, including myself and my father have lacked.  I can melt into this or move on and finish this “unfinished business of grace.” 

    Those who have chosen to move on can be all the Lord has for them to be, the others will have their growth stunted and not arise to all the Lord has for them.  I want to arise (a daily battle) and be all that grace has alloted to me.

    Ian has reminded me of my daily battle and my decision to move on.  Thanks for the push Ian.

  • Real Property Service

    My father, like myself, was alcoholic.  The difference, whom I’ve become, is to choose to live a life in recovery.  My father would say “I’m an alcoholic” and promptly follow that up with “and I intend to do nothing about it.”  Sad deal for him but what I learned from that is that  one of my greatest weaknesses can become one of my greatest assets.    I am enjoying daily the continuing work of unfinished graces. 

  • Alan Loreg

    My relationship with my Father who was in the house was somewhat distant.  I’m trying to change that with my kids be being more intentionally engaged with their lives.  It is definitely harder than I imagined, but more rewarding than I imagined as well.  I still have a lot of work to do.

  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    My relationship with my dad was mostly a “working” relationship… that is, he allowed me to work alongside of him, even at an early age, as he served the church and other people.  I saw the value of hard work, loyalty, consistency, and having a servant’s heart.

    I learned all of those things from my father and he has shaped the man I am today.

    [As for Ian's book, I downloaded a sample on my Kindle but haven't purchased it yet... I will wait for my  free copy ;^) I really enjoyed his writing style, as well. ]

  • generalkat

    It is so important to forgive those who have unintentionally caused emotional wounds during childhood.  My father was very controlling yet involved with my siblings and myself.  I felt he was trying to run my life and thus rebelled and went my own way, ignoring his sound advice.  In hindsight, I see how he was trying to protect me with his regulations and wise words.  Now that he has died, I mourn the way I treated him and forgive him for the negative interaction that was prevalent in my teenage years.  

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I have no idea. 

  • Angela

    Up until I was in the 4th grade, my father and I had a beautiful relationship. That ended abruptly with the big D-word and the fact that his career path took him out of the state that I lived in. Throughout my young life, I struggled with emotions that I kept quiet. My mother would tell me that he must not care that much since he didn’t call or come around that much. According to her, he was a loser and had been all along. As I grew older, little bits and pieces would come out in conversations revealing that maybe my father had tried very hard to maintain our relationship but was sabotaged at every turn by the very unforgiving women in my family. Now that I am almost forty and my own (unfathered) child is grown, I find that I am having some serious questions about my faith. As fate would have it, my father is a Bible scholar and I have recently found myself CRAVING for him to teach me what he knows. I have always trusted his opinions and sought them out in times of unknowing. I am actually seriously considering/planning a move across the country to be able to spend more time with him, seek his knowledge and to try to get back some things that were lost. This all comes with the new knowledge that my child is with child and she is only 19. I feel that she will need me but this is that big chance for me to break the generational cycle of sin that Mr. Hyatt spoke of which runs so very very deeply in my family. Please pray that I make the right decision. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful posts. I love them.

  • dee23

    I love my father despite the fact that he has never been a good father to us. I’m in my 30′s already & he has only asked me these questions: “Have you eaten?” “Do you have money?”
    There’s never a moment that he sat with me to ask how I am.
    He never taught me about life & how to pursue my dreams so here I am, always wandering & lost.
    I’m not gonna go into details but he is a lazy & violent man. I didn’t have a happy childhood so maybe it’s the
    reason why I’ve become a Christian. I needed a Father, I need love.

  • Anonymous

    Although I lost my Dad at a young age, he did instill and teach me honesty, integrity and character.  While I certainly did not know he was teaching me these concepts at the time, I believe that he lead by example and that example is what made me who I am.  I hope I can do the same with my 3 boys!

  • Linda S

    My dad was a strong influence in my life.  I grew up on a grain farm in North Dakota and lived first hand through the challenges of rural living and running your own business.  There were many things that my dad taught me that I have brought into my own life and then there were other things that I knew would not be healthy for me or my family and so I was able to stay away from those things.  I look forward to reading Ian’s book.

  • Nottingd

    Performance for approval shaped my relationship with my father.  He was a good man, hard working, very very young as a father.  We have a good relationship now and as an adult, but there were wounds to heal. 

  • Jbeery

    We lost my dad when I was 16 yrs young. He was 47. My dad was a heavy smoker and not very healthy. 
    That was very hard and has been ever since. 
    My dad was a workaholic. He didn’t take time for vacations or enjoying life, let alone investing in himself. What I gained from that experience is the importance of caring for myself, physically and spiritually. With my family, we vacationed, camped, explored and experienced new things. 
    My investment in my health will affect and has affected my children and future grandchildren. My adult children now all take care of themselves, they know the Lord, they take responsibility seriously and they take time to enjoy life. 
    My two sons have and are serving our country with my youngest now in his third tour to Iraq. They always look back on pictures of my dad when he was in the military and wish they could talk to him. My daughter has shared how much she feels short changed in not knowing her grandfather.

    What I learned from my dad? Life is incredibly short, Live, Love, Laugh, Enjoy!

  • Christopher Bowen

    It never occurred to my Dad that I didn’t belong at his side, and that has entirely shaped who I am. Wherever he went, I could go. At 10, 11, 12 years old, I would go with him to men’s retreats where I was the only “man” under 25, Promise Keepers meetings, hang out at his store until closing, go on deliveries to shut-ins to brighten their day. One time we got up early to go out to breakfast, and it turned out to be with his superior at work – he was asking her for a raise, and wanted to teach me that skill at 14, as well as show me that a man guards his reputation when he meets with other women by taking someone along. A couple years later, and I was working with him at the store, which continued for seven years. I watched him love my Mom, lead our family, disciple his kids, and pour his life into mine, and everything I saw him do is what I am now trying to imitate, loving my wife and baby girl the way he loved his family. Few people have received the gift that I was given in the love of a father, and I will always be grateful to him.

  • Tom Benton

    My father and I were not particularly close growing up, but he wasa always at everything I did to support me.  When I left home for college, I drifted from him and an incident happened that caused me to put even more distance between us.  We reconciled it, but remained somewhat distant.  That was until 6 years ago with my mother passed away – one of the last things she said to me was that she was concerned that I would not take care of dad after she was gone.  Since then, I have spent time with him almost every week, and as he has progressed with a degenerative muscle issue in his legs, we moved him to live closer to us a few years back.  I have learned a quiet humble sense of responsibility from him, and a strong sense of seeking and finding forgiveness in my relationships.  Thanks, Dad.
    If Ian’s book has anything to do with building stronger relationships, especially with fathers, I would love to read it.  Thanks for making it available and for the post – I have not watched the interview, but look forward to doing that later tonight.

  • Kim

    My father was an officer in the Air Force and was rarely home. Growing up, I just thought of him as someone you don’t want to cross. Did not realize just how much he loved me until two failed marriages (my own) and after my mother passed away. I spent the last ten years of his life developing a relationship with him and taking care of him. I wish I had known him while I was growing up. I cherish those years with all my heart and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but maybe if he’d been around while I was growing up I would have known what I needed to look for in a marriage partner. I’ve also found that I’m more like him than I could have imagined!

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgeniebling George Niebling

    I, as others, love the phrase “the unfinished business of grace”. My father’s parenting “style” was /is to give to his children’s as his father had given to him: wholly, without justification, and fully. It is this model of giving that is shaping my parenting years (2 year old and 4 year old). Parenting is “the unfinished business of grace” … that I might pass the grace that has been given to me to my children … and that they migth grow that into the next generations.

  • V. Shane Browning

    My father worked extremely long hours. He was a blue-collar worker often putting in six 10′s (six days – 10 hours each). While he worked hard to provide for our family, I remember that coming at a high price. That price was dad being too tired to spend much quality time with me on a regular basis. 

    Dad attempted rather successfully to make up for that “lost time” later in life. And just when we were beginning to make some significant strides in our relationship, he died of leukemia in October of 2007. 

    Lesson learned:  My wife and I homeschool our 7 year old daughter. I, like my father work long hours and find myself routinely traveling away from home. This is to help meet the financial needs of my family. However, I’ve learned – due to my experience with my own father, that there are needs which money cannot take care of. 

    This year, we purchased a motorhome so that “my girls” (wife and daughter) can travel with me. This enables me to continue working hard to support them, but also affords us some quality time together making memories around this beautiful country. It is my sincere hope that my daughter will not need me to make a mends down the road for being too busy and too tired to be involved in her life now. 

    This is something my father and I painfully worked through.  And, it is a positive ripple that continues to influence the legacy he left behind.

  • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com Bschebs

    For many years I thought my father was a simple man, but as I age, I learn that he may not have had the most book smarts, but he taught me so much about respect and love for the people and world around me.

  • http://twitter.com/helenheiskell Helen Heiskell

    I’m excited to read this book. My relationship with my father definitely influenced the parent I am today. While I thought we had a good relationship growing up, as an adult secrets were revealed that changed my perceptions of my childhood. It has caused me to attempt to be more transparent with my children, who are now older teenagers. I more fully understand how generational curses can affect a family, and with God’s help, I am breaking that curse.

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I can’t say that I had a bad father growing up but we were not close. He was a good man and did his best to take care of us but he was distant most of the time. He grew up in a very abusive home by his father and so when he had children he honestly did not know how to relate. He knew enough that he didn’t want to be like his father but he didn’t know how to engage my brother and I. In hindsight, he taught me a lot about parenting by what he did not do for me. I have girls now and so I make it a point to try and give to them what I did not get and I don’t mean monetarily! I would love to read Ian’s story!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Frady/624897291 John Frady

    I think the best advice given in this interview was when Ian said that the best advice he could give a writer is for him to show up.  So many times, we would rather stay in bed or do other things rather than sit and start writing.  Thanks for the advice!

  • Darian Burns

    My father left when my parents divorced.  Abandonment has been an issue with my relationship with God and others throughout my life.  Always wondering if I might not quite be good enough for God to give up on me.  Studying Galatians and understanding grace has helped a great deal.  Sonship means more to me than I could have ever imagined.

  • J Loren Norris

    My step father was abusive. May father was absent until my late teens. At one point in my 30′s he told me he never planned to have two kids so it never really sunk in that I was his.

    With three kids of my own, my committment to them is to demonstrate the fatherhood of Christ to them. I am blessed with three teens that still sit on my lap, call for permission and read my journal just for fun.

    My life before Christ was a train wreck…

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I have finally come to the realization that despite everything God knew I would do in my life, He still chose to love me. I finally believe that He loves me with an everlasting love and that I AM safe with Him. No greater feeling. 

  • http://robbystewart.com bobstu

    One of the things is when I was growing up, I lived in an almost constant state of fear that I was going to anger my dad or disappoint him. My dad never did anything more than yell, but it left with a conflicting view of who God the Father is…a sense of longing for love and approval.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I am what I am today only because of my father. He has been a great source of inspiration in my life. But for him, I would not have raised to such a height in my life. I always look forward to him for motivation. He is always there to encourage me to do the best.

  • http://twitter.com/mrmerlot Adam Roades

    I’m looking forward to reading Cron’s book as I was to read Don Miller’s “Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation.” I am constantly amazed by the lack of involvement of father’s in their children’s lives. Careers, hobbies, and other priorities seem to trump the time fathers spend with their kids. My own father wasn’t necessarily absent, but he wasn’t present either. I grew up in the typical split family: my parents split when I was ten, I spent every other weekend with my dad along with the occasional vacation. He fit the label “Disney World dad” very well, swooping in with something fun to do, but not investing any meaningful guidance or wisdom into me. The financial decisions he made and his choice to both divorce my mom and remarry were clearly in self-interest; his kids always seemed an afterthought (at best), suffering collateral damage.

    I find his impact on my life to be twofold: on the one hand, I work very hard to shed the bad habits I know lurk in my DNA. Procrastination, making excuses, and making poor money decisions are all included. On the other hand, I exhibit positive traits that I can’t deny come from both the “nature” and “nurture” of my dad like a constant curiosity and a desire to teach others. I have found that I must embrace who I am because of my dad, while overcoming the destructive tendencies I’ve inherited from him.

    I find Ian’s guidance to tell your children “I’m sorry” to be dead-on. I practice this regularly – no, it’s not easy, but it’s very, very necessary (and has had a noticeable impact on my kids). This is something my dad only learned late in life; too late, it could be argued, to have much of an impact. Combined with an unswerving devotion to my wife, I have faith that we will provide a much more positive impact on our kids than I had growing up.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve ordered Father Fiction as well.  Can’t wait to read it.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    I’d call this a personal yet complex interview. Clearly, Ian has a powerful story of God’s redemption to tell. Many of us have “father” issues, and I can relate  to the story already.

    His principle of “showing up” was the disciple that empowered me to blog and write during the last year or so. I don’t wait till I have the “right emotions” before I sit down and write. I just go to my laptop and show up. Somehow the creative juices will start flowing when I put my fingers on the keybaord.

  • Shu-Hua, Chloe Yeh

    I have two fathers. One is my beloved dad on earth, the other is Heavenly Father.
     
    Recently I have a special privilege to talk about the influence my dad has given to me with a personal coach who I met in my Uni. I am an international student who studies abroad in a foreign country. The ambiguousness of Taiwan’s political status in terms of nationality gives me lots of opportunities to think about my own identify.  The impact of the relationship between my Dad and I reveals in various aspects of my life.
     
    My dad is very philosophical and abstract in the way how he thinks. This influences me a lot as my thought patterns tend to be like him. I am able to grasp meanings behind the context in various situations.
     
    Another important influence from him is perfectionism as he has been very strict to himself and to me in a loving way. This point, perfectionism, pushes me seek approvals and recognitions. I have suffered a lot from this in my life experiences. It is the one I am coping with.
     
    My dad is very strict to me, sometimes this brings hurt. However, I feel his love so much. He is so wise. I would always remember that he reminded me that: no matter where I go, I shall remember who I am, I am his daughter and I shall remember my name.
     
    The love from Heavenly Father heals my hurts and teaches me to forgive my dad. He also guides me to learn that I am loved because of who I am but not by any other external performances and belongings.      

  • Ylbcore

    My dad taught me about responsibility and commitment, for which I am thankful.  He is also a slow to praise which has caused me to seek approval from male authority in my life.  That is not always good.  I have tried to be quicker to praise my own children because of it.  I am thankful that he has always been supportive of all my ventures in life, I know not everyone has a dad as supportive.

  • Curtis Matoga

    Loved watching this interview.  I am excited to read Ian’s book.  Thank you for the advice you give to aspiring writers; it’s encouraging and motivating.  I appreciate the raw but simple, “Show up.”  I am going to…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Petr-Cabák/805234515 Petr Cabák

    Log time I
    thought I’m different person than my father is.  In my 30s I have just realized
    how big impact this guy had on me.  Sometimes it is not very pleasant to
    be honest. Despite I deeply respect my father, I have to say he gave me both -
    good to develop and bad to avoid.  However as I am getting older I tent to tolerate
    his weaknesses more and more. I simply want to enjoy our time together bucause I don´t know how many opportunities we will have in the future again.  For me the issue is not how my father influanced me but how I influance my son. Hope to give him more good to develop and less bad to avoid.

  • John Reimer

    I come from a large family, I had six brothers, somehow my parents kept us all alive and connected with us. We worked together on a large farm and dad instilled honesty and integrity in our lives in what he did and said to us . He loved us and showed us the way.

  • Jan Kern

    Cherry pits. A family incident when my children were young
    and when we were visiting my father has become representative for me of my life
    with my father. A cherry pit hit my stepmom and my father immediately blamed
    the children. This is the same man who once told me, “Your mother and I never
    planned to have children” and never followed that up with, “but we’re glad we
    had you and your sister.” Childhood moments with my father, especially mealtimes,
    meant hearing angry words and responding with tears and stomach aches.
    Expectations, control, no sense of the child as a person. No grace.

     

    My initial response was to hide as a person. If I do
    everything I can to stay out of his line of sight, I can survive—not that I was
    aware as a child that was my tactic. But this became a pattern in my life in other contexts and relationships. Later
    when I realized that, I began to find my presence, my voice again, and help others
    do the same. I’ve worked alongside my husband for most of our married life at a
    residential ministry for at-risk youth. I’ve written the stories of those who
    didn’t have a voice, and am now partnering in a project with an organization who is making inroads into halting the sex trafficking industry,
    primarily in the Sacramento area. I didn’t realize until recently how much who
    I’ve become tied into the early days with my father. And how when I thought I had
    been giving up, I was also learning to fight. For me, for others. For a voice, for grace. 

  • http://davidcphilips.com David Philips

    Hello Ian and Michael, Thanks for distilling all the books on writing down to “Show up.” Its helpful encouragement. 

    My Dad’s influenced on my life was quite. He was around but not aways emotionally available. I craved his leadership and knowledge but it wasn’t always accessible. Because of that, I have two very vivid categories of knowledge and experience:

    1) those things that my dad taught me 
    2) those things that he failed to teach me that I had to seek out on my own. 

    What I am grateful for is that the things he taught me were the essentials like unconditional Love, hard work, faithfulness to God, commitment to your family, delayed gratification. It is this list of 5 things that have become the most formative and foundational aspects of my life. In this way, my Dad had the greatest impact anyone has ever had on my life.

  • Val Buick

    I am so thankful for my father. A custom builder of beautiful homes, a fisherman and hunter, a man who loved and served God and his church, and who lives his life with all his heart. As I grew up my father let me do everything with him. It didn’t matter that I was a girl. And when I got weird looks or if comments were made, my father defended me and said, ‘give her a chance’. And that fostered in me the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to do. I just had to figure it out. It has made all the difference in my life from the way I interact with people to the way I handle daily challenges. It has made me who I am.
    Val Buick

  • Kathleen

    I, too, am moved by the phrase “the unfinished business of grace.” This can be applied to every relationship, but I can safely apply it to my relationship with my father as well. My father is a very good father, a very good man, and a very imperfect person. I love him and am 100% devoted to him. Loving him has changed me because I now know how to survive when someone lets me down or hurts me or does not make choices that I believe are best. I am no longer devastated, as a child can be, by his humanity. I accept him for who he is and I learn from his mistakes as well as his successes. Being loved by him has taught me how to survive my own screw ups and failures. I have disappointed my dad so many times, but he continues to adore me and believe in me despite my own humanity. This helps me accept myself in my brokenness. It occurs to me, as I write this, that this relationship as served as a conduit of God’s grace for me. I hope it has been for my dad as well.

  • http://twitter.com/gotstress alan pez pezza

    My Dad was a great man. I always strived for  his approval and love. He died of cancer when he was only 52.  I was running the family business for him at that time. He was unable to go to the office the last year and each evening ,on my way home, I would stop in and tell him what we had done that day. Every day he would ask me why I had not done it in another manner. It was frustrating, but I realized later that he had given me two years of training that year. He was an intelligent and humble man. He never told me in words, ” I love you.” He just showed me in his actions. I tell my children I love them everyday. I hope that I show them with my actions as well.

  • Curtis Matoga

    My father was an honorable, respectable man.  He imparted that to me.  I see so much of him in me, and even sometimes, it alarms me, when I catch a passing glimpse of myself in a mirror, because I think I am seeing him again.  (He passed away 16 years ago.)  I look that much like him.

    But my dad was also very reserved and hesitant with any show of affection and affirmation.  I determined not to be like that with my wife and my children, but the strength of that default is sometimes surprising, and the need to “swim upstream” to not be like that, is ongoing.

  • Anonymous

    Good heavens, what a loaded question!  One positive thing — my father never gets angry and is extremely patient, so I know that God is that way with me too.  A negative thing is that my father tends to be emotionally distant, so I have a hard times sometimes connecting with God emotionally, if that makes sense.

  • David Eggebrecht

    I second Stephen King’s excellent book on writing.  An important thing is to put the first word on that blank page.

  • Ayoung24

    I was blessed to have a flawed father. My father was an alcoholic, healed by God’s mercy. He found Christ before I was born and I grew up hearing about the change Christ made in his life.Because of him, I believe in miracles  and I know that God’s love transforms lives.

  • David Eggebrecht

    To a large extent my father made me what I am, by his wonderful example, his guidance, his discipline, and his very strong faith in our loving God.

  • Deborah Everson

    My father died when I was 13 years old. I remember my mother saying he wouldn’t run if his pants were on fire.  What I saw was patience and a refusal to race through life.  He may have become a hero figure to me because I lost him at such a young age…but I kind of doubt that.  I believe if he had lived on through to my becoming and adult he would have simply shown more and more reasons why he was someone to look up to and respect.  He was known for his kindness and a great sense of humor.  I’d like to think I inherited some of that from him.
    He spent time with me as a child…he taught me how to put bait on a hook, allowed me to climb a ladder and watch him replace roof shingles, let me pretend to drive our car through the country, took me on walks through the woods while he let his rabbit dog catch a scent, brought home treats in his work lunch box for me. Our extended family loved him and truly grieved when he died.  I know he was a good man …a person’s goodness has always mattered to me.

  • DGrex

    My Father’s influence was profound, as he showed me what it means to be a loving husband, a present  and trustworthy father, as well as a man who actively lived the faith he encouraged us to follow.  His willingness to take those steps of faith passed on a sense of adventure as well as what it means to really live.  Very grateful for my Father.

  • http://www.imperfectpeople.net Bgbulmer

    My Dad was in the Air Force and drank a lot.  It cost him his job, he also tried to fire bomb my ex-step mother while she was in her house, while under the influence.  I think I can relate to this book, and it will be help in my ever growing grace for my biological father.

  • http://www.aaronsellars.com Aaron Sellars

    I’ve come to realize I need to be careful how I communicate.  Love my dad, but its something he has not been great at doing in the past.

  • http://twitter.com/rekindlejoe Joe Loughlin

    I was blessed to have had a great relationship with my father, and more than any other asset I inherited from my late father, the one I value most is a healthy sense of humor. A genetically predisposed storyteller, I especially enjoy spinning a self-deprecating yarn that invites listeners to laugh with me (not just at me) which usually results in their lowering defenses and allowing me to minister to them in deeper levels more quickly. Dad happened to be my speech and drama coach in high school, but I learned more about the craft from being his son than I did from being his student. JL

  • Clay Waters

    Through his example, my dad taught me to be an encourager. His love for the underdog was passed down to me. I can remember countless occasions when Steve, a player on my high school baseball team, would ask, “Clay, is your dad coming to the game tonight?” He knew the answer to the question, but he asked it anyway. “Yes, he’s coming,” I would assure him. Steve knew that after the game, my dad would seek him out to tell him he played a good game; my dad would always highlight his successes. In four years of high school, Steve’s father never saw him play one high school game, and he was desperately looking for affirmation. My dad gave it, I saw it, and it meant so much to me. I learned that bringing out the best in others never happens apart from encouragement.

  • Anonymous

    My dad was a homicide investigator in Southern California. I idolized my dad’s toughness and influence. As I grew it made it really hard for me to be soft and tender. Although I am a pastor now and a big softie it is still hard for me to not push and drive, to not appear tougher than I really am

  • http://www.trudatmusic.com/raw brenten gilbert

    that’s a tough question to answer in an open forum, but I’ll take a crack at it…

    My father was physically around all of my life, but I wouldn’t say he was emotionally available growing up.  And most of our conversations were particularly demotivating – replaying the message of “abandon your dreams and settle for reality” In response, I’ve grown up to be a big dreamer and I strive to inspire my kids to dream huge as well. 

    I’ve had this book on my watch list since I heard about it, so I’m excited for a chance to read it.

    peace… love… bdg… 

  • http://www.facebook.com/bonnie.g.kirk Bonnie Gooch Kirk

    This sounds like a great book. Cron is right. “I think I hurt you; I’m sorry” does carry a lot of freight. Especially with children, IMHO.

  • Anonymous

    I lost my dad when I was 15 and he was 37.  He was a gentle person, a fisherman with me at his side, and I missed him so in my life, as I grew up, when I had children to tell them about their grand dad was still difficult.

  • Wendy

    I also grew up with a Father who was an alcoholic but a mentor recently challenged me to go back and look for the gold nuggets….the things that were positive.  I have found five key things that he taught me well and although I still have only a surface relationship with my Dad I am now happier taking away the good.  I am influenced now to defy the odds and to turn to our Heavenly Father to fill in all the holes.  I wouldn’t go back and change my childhood if I had the chance as it has made me who I am today.  I also recognize that my parenting will be flawed and I love my three children as best as I can.  

  • Tammy

    My dad has definitely shaped who I’ve become. I’m very blessed to say that my Dad was actively involved throughout my childhood in sports and all my activities and today we enjoy a warm, close relationship. I’ve learned a lot watching my Dad’s enthusiasm for hard work and giving it 110%, whether in work or play. I’m more aware of his weaknesses and failures now as an adult, but I love him, and consider him to be God’s provision of a terrific dad. 

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    The relationship with my father has propelled me farther then I ever could have imagined. I am glad to call him father, mentor, and friend.

    He has really been a blessing from God. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606788573 Lesley Keao Glenn

    Question: How has your relationship (or lack of relationship) with your father influenced whom you have become?

    The love is conditional relationship with my (earthly) father, drew my face heaven ward towards a  (heavenly) father whom I learned loved me without conditions.  When I learned,  that there was nothing I had to “DO” to win this father’s heart,  and all I had to be was me, was when I began to soar into my full identity and  risks  to live my dream. 

  • http://twitter.com/stephindialogue Stephanie S. Smith

    My dad has influenced me by being an example of a godly man in the same pattern of the man that I later met and married. I always knew that I wanted someone I could engage with on an intellectual level, because my dad is a brilliant Yale graduate who could answer any science, physics, nature question a kid might have growing up. My dad also has helped me become who I am in my relationship with my Heavenly Father; his earthly example gave me a tangible picture of what it looks like the have a Father who unconditionally loves, cherishes, and supports His daughter. This is the paradigm which now defines my faith: I see myself as a daughter of the King. 

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ HopefulLeigh

    I have a great dad but I did not truly appreciate him until I went to college.  Prior to that, I felt he didn’t care too much about me, though I could acknowledge that he provided for our family and probably showed his love in ways that I didn’t recognize.  In college, my dad’s faith began to grow by leaps and bounds and my parents’ marriage strengthened in the process.  As a result of all that, we got to know each other in a new way.  Now I go to him for anything and everything and know that he loves me unconditionally.  There’s such healing in this!

  • Jeff McAbee

    My relationship with my father, strained early on and good today, influenced me in two ways; I learned forgiveness and humility from my father. 

    My father was abusive when I was young. I couldn’t stand up to him because of his size and I became a very angry young man.
     
    This anger manifested itself in abusive behavior on my part. I used drugs and alcohol to escape the bitterness and resentment of my early years. That is, until I learned to forgive. And in one long and looking back now, maudlin letter I forgave my dad stating simply that the only person that I was hurting by being unforgiving was myself.  That changed all of my relationships.

    Later on as our relationship strengthened, my father began to point out to me that I was “haughty”. I grew up in a small town in Texas, went off to college, got a good job on the East Coast and thought that I was doing well for myself.

    But by pointing out to me that I acted as if I was smarter, better, richer, more traveled than the people in my hometown he made me realize that even the letter that I sent him telling him that I forgave him was somewhat self-indulgent. For I was no saint of a son and while his disciplined was often done out of anger, I too needed to ask for his forgiveness for being less than the model son.

    Being a more forgiving and humble person has made my career, my relationships and my spiritual walk better. 

  • Jewel77

    My father was an alcoholic with no ambition to become the man God wanted him to be.  After he passed away from a heart attack, I realized how I really never the real man that I called “Daddy”.  I could dwell on this loss and believe the lie that I am destined to be no better than him.  However, I could focus on the man, “Jesus”, that God sent to be my example.  I never saw my father conquer addiction and be a respectful victorious man.  I must set the goal to end this generational cycle of sin NOW.  Though I never saw my father never do what God wanted him to do and stand up to this temptation.  I must stand up and fight what my father couldn’t or this cycle will continue to my children, grandchildren, and others around me.  Please pray that I do this.  Losing my father did help me recognize  the love and presence of God when He decided to make himself known to me.  I fear that if I had not lost my “Daddy”, that love would not have been missing from my life and then I might not have recognized it.   Thanks for listening!         
    Julia 

  • Jtmason4

    My father was a huge influence in my life. A great man who always found ways to teach me, even when he was so busy, was tremendous. I have been able to be successful, I feel, due to much of the values taught me by my father.

  • CYdmg

    I believe my father did the best that he could without being raised in a relationship with the Lord, and I love and appreciate his efforts without blame or condemnation.  I, on the other hand, am responsible to live up to a higher calling which I have been given to honor both my Father and my father.

  • Karieo

    My father was a very colorful guy. Career Air Force–but not the kind of guy who made his kids answer the phone “Oliver residence,may I help you, SIR!” He swore a fair amount, but nothing dirty–and he passed to me the baton of vehemence. The intensity of his expression, his unique descriptive ability, and his slightly cynical humor have helped make me the writer I am today. He was cranky and clever, funny and not one to be messed with. I inherited his prickliness, I’m afraid, along with his curly hair and blue eyes. To see oneself as an extension of a parent is a very comforting thing, once you get past your teen years. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.abbot Michael Abbot

    Ian,

    I loved my father and idolized him until he cheated on my mother. To be blunt it rocked my world for a while.

    The greatest influence on my life has been Jesus and subsequently the church. Good men are hard to find and our church seems to have them in spades. It has helped me be the man I am today.

    Nice to know I’m not alone in this Journey!

    Cheers,

    Mike

  • http://twitter.com/chapswoodard ChaplainGreg Woodard

    I had a very good relationship with my father. He was a very quiet man who lived out his faith. He was always very supportive of my decisions.
    It was in his death, though, that my father most profoundly influenced me. I saw the result of his life through meeting so many people whom he influenced by the way he lived his life. It was after his death that I began to understand the legacy he left for his wife, his children and his friends and associates.
    I am quite sure that I would not be a Navy Chaplain had my father not passed away at 63.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    My lack of my birth father and the unrest in my family home caused me to first go through a period where I looked for the love and acceptance I wasn’t getting at home in immoral relationships. Then, I feared meeting the wrong guy; yet at the same time I feared meeting the right guy because if the right guy left I feared that my heart would break irrepairably. That is, until I discovered my heavenly Father.

  • http://lifeallin.ent Jacob Musselman

    My father taught me how to love. His overwhelming love for my mom, my sisters and I, God, the church, friends, sports was evident to me everyday. Love willingly lavishes words and deeds, and he showed it until the time he passed away. Even though my sisters and I were young, his love imprinted on our hearts.

    Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the interview-great thoughts about the writing process.

  • Care

    My father taught me, when I was only 8 that no matter how many times I fell down and skinned my knees (which would later be screwed bionically together) if I would keep Matthew 6: 33 and 34ing it, things would work out. In other words – if you seek God first thing in the day, and work to make right choices (righteousness), things would pan out – eventually and maybe not the way YOU thought – AND to remember to take no thoughts of tomorrow – they have enough trobubles of it’s own…..

  • Jeffrey Mullan

    For a first ime reader of this blog in an attempt to enrich my knowalge and grow my business, I find myself commenting on my father, what a turn-around in developement.
    He was a top amature golfer, and an alcholic, and where has this lead me. That when socilising, alchol should not  be required to ease the unconsious to enjoy ones self.

    I thank him for being the man he was, lived life his way and died his was

  • Jimfitz2

    Looks like a fascinating read.  I love the idea of the business of grace, and the fact that it is unfinished.  We need to extend grace here on earth, whether we want to or not, because our God and Creator has grace for us, whether we DESERVE it or not.

  • Karen Palen

    I can’t even imagine any part of me that isn’t in some way influenced by my dad.  Mainly, my understanding of God has been largely molded by how my dad was when I was growing up.  I knew I could trust him, that he loved me no matter what I did.  I knew that he was just and that it really did hurt him more than me when he had to discipline me.  As I grew up, I learned that my dad and I maybe didn’t agree on everything, but I knew that my dad had thought through his ideas and had a reason for them.  I respect that in him to this day. 

  • http://www.BartLeger.com Bart Leger

    My dad has shaped who I am by his time. He has always wanted to spend time with me and still does. And I am now his pastor.

  • Mike McGinnis

    My dad shot baseline jumpers in college. I shot 3 pointers.
    My dad took us out to eat on occasion. I budget my money.
    My dad teared up giving devotions. I hug people long and hard.

    Basketball. Finances. Christianity.  And that’s only a few. I have more,  but it’s good to leave some in the tank.                 :)

  • Judy Parker

    My father  with was a Christian but he was from the old school of showing love by providing for the family. He rarely spent time with me and usually only paid attention to me if I was in trouble. This led to me growing up with the false assumption that God was the same. He loved me but really didn’t notice me except to punish me. I believed God was an angry God just waiting to turn me into toast if I did something wrong. This probably kept me from getting into trouble too much but it killed my trust in God and my ability to truly love Him. The Lord has mercifully begun the transformation in me but it’s a slow process. I am so thankful that His grace is boundless and never finished. Ian’s book sounds fascinating and I’d love to read it.
      

  • Bob Freeman

    Dad was a simple, hardworking family man. His actions spoke much louder than his words. He seemed to have a real knack for knowing how to spark enthusiasm in me and my four brothers. He was a good mechanic and he taught me and my brothers how to rebuild engines, how to build a go kart and how to work with farm animals. Dad was not well educated but he was wise in his own ways. Some of things I remember most about dad were his simple but true sayings. I remember him saying “son, let your yea be a yea and your nay be a nay”.  “Be an honest man and keep a good name because there could come a day when you don’t have five cents in your pocket but if you keep your good name you can hold your head up high.”.  Don’t lie, he’d say. No matter how hard the truth is always tell the truth.  Don’t turn your back on the jewish people, he’d say. God promised to bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them.  Dad always encouraged us to do our best. Often he would says “you’re a bright boy. You could grow up to be a doctor or an attorney”.  After hearing this for several years I finally said to him one day “dad, what if I don’t want to be a doctor or an attorney?”  I can still see that serious look on his face as he leaned in toward me to make his point. He said “son, I don’t care if you become an auto mechanic, a worker on a construction job or the trashman as long as you give it your best”.  Dad had a genuine love for people and a big heart for those less fortunate than him. He once took in a homeless man who eventually died of cirhossis of the liver. The man had no family so dad buried him in his own grave plot he had reserved for himself.  Dad always had a smile from ear to ear whenever some of the family would come to visit him. He had an enduring love for family and neighbors. 

    I suppose I’ve tried to emulate the good things I remember of my dad. His simply sayings often ring loud and clear in my ears and his wise advice has served me well for these many years.

  • http://www.365grateful.com Toni Powell

    I think the most influential thing my father modelled to me was the way he treated everyone equally, in fact I believe he actually just saw everyone as equal.  He was wealthy but you would never know it and he gave equal time to the person who could do something for him and the person who could not.  He liked to chat and hear everyone’s story….  be they a old man, a young person, a bikie, a CEO or me.

    I also feel just as happy to talk to someone on the bus or someone famous.  Inside we are all the same and  just want someone to hear our story.

  • http://stopdoingnothing.com Patrick Allmond

    I never had a full-time father figure in my house because my mother decided to come out and lived life as a lesbian after I was adopted. There were several years where it was just her and I. I believe she was a very strong person for deciding to take this on. She was very hard on me which I believe turned me into a great person. Would having a father there made me an even better person? I don’t think so. I think having multiple involved as parents would have been good, but one does not necessarily have to be be male and one female. What I lacked in multiple parents was made up for by the village your hear about so often that it takes to raise a child. I had plenty of male role leaders around to teach me the things I needed to know as a male. Even though this entire situation was unique, is still raised a great individual.

    I hope more people realize that great kids can be raised by more than just strictly traditional male-female couples. 

  • Anonymous

    How easy was that!

    The timing of this video was perfect – right at the point where there was resistance to something I really want to do; writing my book.
    Ian’s note of setting aside two hours for the book – even if you don’t do anything, it’s book time, and nothing else. That with a little twist of Pomodoro (break @ 30 mins) – worked like magic.

    It felt really good, focussed, productive – writing was effortless and enjoyable. wow.

    Thanks Michael, Ian.

  • Chaz

    My dad was pretty absent from my life especially because he worked 3rd shift. There were all sorts of problems he had to deal with because of his past and how his father treated him. Sadly, I believe those problems haven’t been faced and are an underlying root to plenty of my dad’s issues. My mom divorced him which gave us kids even less time with him. So yes, you can say our relationship was lacking. The thing is, although dad can be absent, he’s more than willing to lend a helping hand. I feel he’s been really generous to me. I see his love. I’ve extended grace to him and put all that old stuff aside. I use to worry that I’d be like him. Distant. I didn’t want to be like him at all. But with grace, and me trying to put myself in his shoes, forgiveness came. Now I hope I can be generous like he is. And I hope my future children will be generous as well. ^^

  • http://twitter.com/vpoast Vincent Poast

    My Father left when I was very young and I never really thought it bothered me much at first. I find myself drawn to father son reunion/closure types movies and books ex. Field of Dreams. I guess my point is I am not sure how it has influenced my live, I am sure that the longing I feel in so many aspects of my life is a direct result.

  • Betty Jones

    My Dad was the father of eight children, however, I think I loved him more than all of the other seven.  When I was bedridden with measles at age 8, he sat by my bed, and while we listened via radio to a baseball game, he told me what was happening at the ballpark.  I was just a little girl, but when I had recovered from the illness, he held my hand and took me  to see a professional game.

    Two years later, at age 10, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I wanted so much for my dad to know him too, but Daddy was an alcoholic who thought God could not love him because of his addiction.  I prayed for his salvation for more than 50 years.  When he was 65, I gave him a Bible for Christmas.  Within its pages, there was a hand written letter giving him the plan of salvation.  At age  69, following a serious heart attack,  he turned his life over to God. The alcohol disappeared from his life.    For his remainig 6 years on earth, Daddy served the Lord and was not ashamed to do so.  The night before he suffered a stroke he had but $9 in his pocket.  “Send this to Ken,”  he told my mother, “It’s all I’ve got.”  (He loved listening to Kenneth Wright, a local  evangelist.) 

     The bonding my daddy began when I was a child will last forever.  He will be in heaven when I arrive, and I want him to know I  never forgot that night he sat by my bed, and taught me to love baseball.   If this had not taken place, I may have never cared enough to pray so long for his salvation.  Those years of praying for him taught me to never give up on prayer, especially when I am praying for a lost soul. 

  • Gfrohna

    My Dad is a very gentle man.  He is kind and graceful.  His personality did not allow him to be too demanding.  “Did you do your best?” was a question he frequently asked.  Whether we did or not was not important, but whether he thought we did.  I took too many shortcuts.  As a result, I feel like if I would have been pushed a little more, I might have more ambition to achieve my full potential.

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    My dad and I have a great relationship. We talk about everything. Sometimes we butt heads, especially over my faith in Jesus. But at the end of the day, we have an honest relationship and feel completely comfortable with speaking our minds.

    As Ian and you discussed, I tend to say, “Sorry” to my kids a lot more than my dad, possibly due to generational reasons.

  • Momarian

    I think that the lack of paternal relationship has profoundly influenced who I am in relating to others and to God. Quoting from Anatomy of a Soul, “Your memory creates your future. That’s because you imagine the future through the neural networks created by your past.”  I guess at relationships since I have so few “neural networks’ of how a father relates to his child.  So glad God gave us the bible to guide us to relationship with him, still a bit of guess work, but it has a pathway.

  • Novz

    Our lives are all about God’s GRACE indeed and He did say in the bible that “it was SUFFICIENT”.  My dad was quiet, never said much my mom was and still is the more outspoken of the two.  Though by the little things he did somehow demonstated his love. The more I reflect (thanks for this question because it forces you to reflect on things you would probably overlook) though on the lack of relationship the one thing that stands out was that he was never abusive and left an awareness that inspite of any challenge you can maintain control.  Though there is no advice from him  I can recall that would help me in life, the lack of relationship drives me to encourage boys and men to be assertive and play their role as the head in their home and lead with confidence.

  • http://twitter.com/bbewm Mike W.

    I like the twinkle in Ian’s eye that suggests a passion for life. I appreciate (and need) authors and other mentors who can light the lamp of inspiration in my life with the fire that is burning in theirs.

    At ten years of age my father was removed suddenly from my life by a heart attack. As a result I have always made it a point to “be there” for my loved ones and to do my best to connect them to the One who will always “be there” for them no matter what life may bring.

  • Brooke

    My Dad had a tremendous positive influence on my life. I am who I am today because of him.  He is in heaven now but I think of him everyday.

     I have been blessed to have just finished reading Ian’s new book and it is fabulous!  Ian is such a GIFTED writer and my new favorite author.  I hope he has plans to write more.  I am willing to read more. ;)

  • Candace Andrews

    I love the comment  ‘it’s about forgiveness’.  We so often want to paint our parents as all good or all bad and that’s an impossibly harsh judgment to make about someone you only saw through one lens.  It was fortunate for me that my father lived long enough for us to become friends as well as family.  He revealed, especially after diagnosis of cancer, more of his flawed and vulnerable areas and I loved him all the more for all of those.  I wish he were still here to share his insight and love.  He was career military and I think men in government service offer a unique type of fatherhood because they are duty bound to put country before family.

  • JJcase

    My father has been instrumental of sorts in who I have become. I use to emmulate my father and want to be just like him. However, now I have grown and decided I really need to be who I want to be and have decided to take my own path through life.

  • Jmhardy97

    I like his comments on grace and his thoughts on his father.

    Jim

  • http://twitter.com/ZinaGirl84 Rebecca Francis

    I have a greater ability to confront struggles in my life–with little shame or fear of exposure–because of the way my father disciplined me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his methods of discussing the wrong-doing, of distinguishing my bad action from my good identity, and of restoring me back to him after the discipline all instilled in me courage to face my mistakes. After a punishment was served, my father always showed affection and reaffirmed my value to him. I had no idea how he was shaping me, and sometimes I hated it (the hug he asked of me through my tears, and the “I love you” he whispered as I whimpered to myself, “one day I’ll do whatever I want”), but now I thank God regularly for Dad’s discipline. Without it I am certain I would spend more time trying to cover up my faults and a lot less time actually getting free from them!

  • Pingback: Who needs inspiration? | Rebecca Francis

  • Lyle Mook

    My father was of the kind who loved his wife and family so much he almost TOLD them!  He was one of the most difficult people I’ve met – alienating 2 of his 3 children.  I stuck with it – working on the farm with him til college.  My coming to faith was deepened and shaped by loving him unconditionally and seeking to bring out the best along with my saintly mother.  A self-professed atheist, he told me I was pouring my life down a rat-hole by going into vocational ministry. 

    Many years went by and one day as I was leading a summer training program with the Navigators, he came to visit me and the Nav group in Boston, staying with us for several days.  The last day, he came into my room and sat down; looked me in the eye and through tears said: “Lyle, I could never do what you’re doing…but I’m glad somebody’s doing it!”  

    It was his way of giving me a blessing.  And I believe he softened and turned toward the Lord before his death.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    In the beginning of my life, my lack of relationship with my father hugely affected my life. My parents divorced when I was 3 and my mom remarried. My step dad was great but I always longed for a relationship with my biological father.

    Because of this, I lost a sense of identity. I was a very shy kind and lacked confidence in a lot of ways. I struggled to bond with other males and I was always very intimidated by authority. It wasn’t until I became an adult, forgave my father for his absence and reconciled with him personally that I was freed from the heaviness and disappointment that I experienced in my younger years.

  • Thomas Renz

    Thank you for the interview.  My relationship with my dad has been much less problematic but as a pastor In need to be aware of a fuller range of experiences. I was also very much interested in Ian’s comments on writing but cannot 100% make out the audio after the question on books. Was there another one apart from Stephen King’s mentioned?

  • Thomas Renz

    My father was a minister in the Lutheran church in Germany, as I grew up, not ordained but full-time, very much full-time. My own sense of vocation, now as an ordained minister in the Church of England, was certainly shaped by my experience of growing up as I did. I saw the patience, the interruptions, the love for God’s word…and have today the same frustrations as a would-be writer alongside pastoring…

  • Tk Beyond

    My dad was an alcoholic as well & I grew up in a multi-generation-dysfunctional family (goes back a couple gens on both sides… alcohol, drugs, infidelity, etc.). My relationship with my dad was distant, yet affectionate– somewhat contentious, yet supportive– distant & with a lot of high expectations, which I baled out on very early in life. When my wife & I became Christian believers & got married, we consciously chose to live our lives & raise our family differently than how we both grew up. God has been good & gracious to us, enabling us to find a much healthier & different way. 

    Both my wife & I chose to be much more involved with our children, while letting them grow up & live their lives as they chose- not easy to do growing up in a full-time ministry environment in the US & overseas (as PK’s & MK’s). They all have their own walks with Jesus & their own calls to ministry/work. We’re blessed & it’s purely God’s grace!

  • Musicguy

    I’m an African American single dad with 3 kids. 2 college graduates and a sophomore.  After 22 years of ministry around the world, failures and successes, chemical dependency and detox, and joblessness and brokenness, I found myself in despair on the day my wife of 23 years left. It was a year after a miraculous detox and sobriety (7 years and counting today) My father, on the day of my firing from a wonderful position, said, “Stefan I have never been more proud of you than I am today.” He’s exemplified that rare unconditional love, even though never pushing chapter and verse, by his quiet and firm, optimistic character and integrity. This is magnified by the powerful testimony of pouring himself into all 8 kids (All now college graduates, CEO’s, Doctors, and educators) . He and my mom have been married 55 years. From the day he sat in the bottom with me with gentle strength, helping me to get back up, I have spoken to him by phone every day. I now travel the world with various relief projects and never miss a chance to testify to God’s love as experienced through my dad.  This will soon be a decade, and his daily calls are consistent reminders of my Father’s love that never gives up on His children. It’s a rare thing in the Black community to see such dedication and fortitude.

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    I believe not having a strong father figure in one’s life affects a person’s self confidence and self  esteem. At least this is something I struggled with in my life. It wasn’t until I became  a follower of Christ when I started to gain more confidence in myself and see myself as valuable in God’s eyes. I look forward to hearing about Ian’s story more in his book. 

  • whimzie

    My father was a Godly man and one of my very best friends. His life certainly shaped who I am and how I relate to God as my Father, but I never knew how much his death would affect my identity and my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

  • Maria

    I have vague memories of my father; peeks, here and there, of his visits to us; we lived in Texas and he lived in California. He became a visible presence when we moved to California, yet preferred to live in the background of our lives. I really didn’t begin to know Dad until I was in my 40′s through a comment he made about Mom, “Your mother is like a storm in a glass of water. You wait until she’s spent and then go on.” After she died, I found him to have a delightful sense of humor, infinite patience, wisdom beyond measure, and tranquility paired with gentleness. I would NOT be who I am today if he had been more involved in my life; it is a loss that is irrecoverable. However, I am comforted by this, he asked for forgiveness because though he loved me, it was difficult for him to show it. This joined our hearts and healed mine. The love that grew between us took us through Mom’s death. I agree with Ian, forgiveness is important.

  • http://www.ryanhaack.com Ryan Haack

    Wow…what a question.  My parents divorced when I has 5, so I only visited my biological father every other weekend.  Later in elementary school my mother remarried and I lived with her and my step-dad.  I don’t mean to be dramatic, but even though I technically had two dads, often I felt like I had none.  I’ve found that I still try to please my dad a lot and that I try to be the best dad I can to my own kids, but beat myself up pretty badly when I fall short of my own expectations.  Thankfully, my relationships with my dad and step-dad are good now.

    Thanks for a great interview, gentlemen!  I really appreciated Ian’s encouragement to “show-up” consistently.  And I totally agree with his recommendations (Lamott and King)!

  • http://profiles.google.com/nicholas.t.christian Nick Christian

    I have given this a lot of thought in the last 18 months since my father has passed from this earth. I continuously reflect on the model of a servant my father was to me. He served his country through the Army, his community as a member of the county road crew and a volunteer fire fighter, and his family as an involved father, son, and brother. Most of all, I can tell he loved each person he met, mainly through his actions. Today, I try to emulate that love of country, community, and family as he modeled for me.

  • http://ilifejourney.wordpress.com/ Rick Alvey

    Great interview! My father was a good man who cared about others and provided for his family; yet he tended to be emotionally distant. For the longest time that was my impression of God. It has taken a long time for me to understand how connected God is and wants to be with His children. And I still struggle with this myself. My wife has to periodically remind me that I am drifting away into my own world. 

    The other dominant issue involving my father is that he would let me try something only once and if I didn’t get it right he would take over and do it. Even at almost 50 I still wrestle with the residue of “fear of failure” and tend to avoid those projects that I’m not confident I can actually accomplish without having to struggle much. And it has taken a long time for God to help me begin to understand that He will not give up on me when I drop the ball with a project or situation. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    It’s complicated. I like the joke, “I had a great childhood … for a writer.”

    My father who was an atheist made it possible for me to live in an environment where I came to know and love God. My father who hated Christians said I was one of the only Christians he could stand.

    Loving my father, listening to him, enjoying his company when we had time together — I love the man and cannot condone his lifestyle.

    How has that shaped me?

    I walk with Christ in and out of the shadows of Love.

  • Eccle0412

    My father is a lighthearted social, non driven, people focused, giver.  His words of wisdom and dedication to Jesus and people are his hallmarks. Never made a lot of money, in fact my mom was the bread winner but my sibs would all say “we want to be like dad”. 
    Would love to read Ian’s book, although I am admittedly not an writer.

  • Joyce

    The unhealthy relationships with my father and step-fathers acted as a filter in how I viewed God early in my walk. The more I got to know God, the more compassion I had for my earthly fathers. I think we are all walking in forgiveness now! I no longer view my heavenly Father through that biased filter either!

  • Ben Berson

    My father is a godly man, but was an extremely strict disciplinarian when I was growing up ( and so was I presumably a very discipline wrothy naughty boy). having been brought up under a school master in early years, (he lost his dad whilst still in the womb), Spare the rod and spoil the child was definitely his way of doing things. I ended up making decisions with my life that was primarily aimed at doing things opposite to what he wanted: he wanted me to study medicine; I went ahead with engineering! He wanted me to join an organisation near home: I joined the military. 
    However in retrospect, I feel now that I am 43 years old, i can see his love in trying to help me make right choices in life and his anxiety … that i would turn out okay, prompted him in the extreme steps he had to enforce at home: no bible no breakfast, compulsory study hours, compulsory attendance at church, discouragement for music or sports etc.
    now I find myself enforcing some of those disciplines on my own children. of course I have ridden more bikes than any of my ancestors or contemporaries from the family have, i do play music at church (guitar, piano, sax) and play a lot of sports: tennis, squash, golf, swim, basketball marathon etc.
    So I can only say I am glad i had a strict father; i have accomplished more and am doing much better off than all my school friends: it was his faith, prayers are positive action that he followed it up with being around that helped him to be a successful father by God’s grace.

  • Jbrady

    My dad is the most loving man I have ever met. He loves the godly and the ungodly. He treats all people as if they are of the greatest value. As he approaches eight decades of life he is still working full time with the residents of the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center loving, counseling, guiding and praying for the men who have found themselves addicted to drugs and alcohol and without hope. He loves them like they are his sons. He allows the love of God flowing through him to restore their hope. He loves like Jesus loves and I am greatly blessed to have been raised with that kind of love.  I think your book would be an excellent resource for him to use with the men for whom he cares so deeply; the men who are trying to understand the grace they so desperately need.