Thankful for a hug-giving father

By Megan Erbacher

My dad is a hugger. He’s always been this way. Chances are the first time you meet him he’ll shake your hand and then pull you in for a hug. It’s who he is, or at least how I’ve always known him to be.

I didn’t realize until later in life how special it is to grow up with a hug-giving dad. Not just that, but a father who never gives me a chance to doubt his love.

Now please do not take this as a snub to dads who may not hug often. I know plenty of people who simply don’t enjoy hugs, and it does not mean your father doesn’t love you.

I recently saw “Rocketman,” the musical biopic about Elton John’s breakout years, and — don’t worry, no major spoilers — in one scene a young Elton wanted a hug from his father. But his dad wasn’t having it. His father responded by telling Elton not to be so soft. Regardless of whether this truly happened in real life or it was Hollywood dramatization, I was sad for the young boy.

Growing up in a hugging household I suppose I don’t know any different. When my family gets together for whatever reason we greet one another with a hug. When we leave that celebration we say goodbye with a hug. It’s just what we do.

With Father’s Day a few days away, I hope my dad always knows how grateful I am and continue to be for not only all of his hugs over the years but for his wisdom, support and guidance. I’m not sure I could ever thank my dad enough for everything he’s done for me.

My dad has always been a hard worker. He’s a man who has done everything in his power to give me, my older brother and sister, and mom a wonderful life. And he’s succeeded beyond measure.

Early on, my dad instilled in us kids the importance of God and family, virtues I believe he learned from his parents, and something I will always carry with me.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

As I write this, I keep thinking of that movie scene where young Elton John longs for a hug from his father. As I recall it, I’m forever grateful for a father who never gives me a chance to doubt how much he loves and cares for me; and I pray he’s never doubted my love for him.

God blessed me with the best dad. I hope many of you feel this way about your father. As I said in my Mother’s Day column, God sure knows what He’s doing when He gives each of us the perfect man to serve as our dad.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

My big brother, Clint, will be a father soon, and I’m so excited to see him in that role. I have no doubts he will be as incredible as our father has been, and I’m sure my niece or nephew will get tons of loving hugs.

Take some time this Father’s Day to hang out with your dad and let him know how much you love him. And, even if it may not be your thing, try giving your dad a hug.

Happy Father’s Day to every dad out there — today and every day!