A baby's life depends on you.
The value of human life is under attack and today expectant mothers face life-and-death decisions. Will you help save a baby’s life? A gift given to Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound will spare mothers and babies from the pain of abortion. Become 1 of our 710 donors needed TODAY to save innocent lives.
A baby's life depends on you
The value of human life is under attack and today expectant mothers face life-and-death decisions.
Yes, I’d like to become
1 of 710 needed TODAY to save
innocent lives before it’s too late.

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Encouraging Dads to be Heroes (Part 1 of 2)

Encouraging Dads to be Heroes (Part 1 of 2)

Pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker provides great insights to encourage fathers to strengthen their relationships with their kids. She provides solid advice on communication, listening, guiding and spending time with your kids. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: May 8, 2017


Dr. Meg Meeker: But what he needs to understand is every time his child, whether he’s 5 or 15 or even 25, walks into a room and dad is there, that child is saying to him if he could, “Please, please, please dad, look at me. Give me what you can.”

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well, that’s Dr. Meg Meeker talking about the importance of fathers and what it means to be a hero to your kids. And I’m really looking forward to hearing this recorded conversation today. It’s appropriate timing, of course, with Father’s Day coming up this Sunday. And uh, welcome to this episode of Focus on the Family, with your host, Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: And John, in so many ways, fathers are marginalized in the culture today. Often when we do a broadcast speaking about women and the challenges they face, uh, we’ll get criticism from people saying, “How come you always put men down?” And let me just say, there’s enough of that going on in the culture, and we don’t want to do that. Instead, we want to lift dads up, and moms frankly, and we firmly believe in the power of a father. And none of us is perfect. We all have work to do in that area. I’m always thinking of ways I can be a better dad for my two sons. Uh, today, we’re gonna hear from one of our favorite guests, Dr. Meg Meeker, about the incredible mission of a father and what he needs to know.

John: Yeah. And, uh, the influence of a dad cannot be overstated, and Dr. Meeker has written about it in her book, You’ve Got This: Unlocking the Hero Dad Within. And, uh, she’s been a pediatrician for about 35 years. She and her husband Walt have four grown children. And as we listen to this recent conversation, Dr. Meeker describes her own father.

Dr. Meeker: You know, my father was a, an enormous figure in my life, and many people who read Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters 10 years ago or in the past 10 years thought, oh, your father was perfect. Your father was … No, my father wasn’t. My father was a bit eccentric. He was, um, very quiet, uh, didn’t have a lot of friends, but I admired him and looked up to him, and I knew that my father always believed, and I don’t know how I knew this, but he communicated it to me, that I could be and do anything I wanted. And this is back in the ’60s and the ’70s, remember-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: … when we didn’t have a lot of women’s, you know, feminism g- growing and so forth. And my father really in one sentence changed my life. And I will share that just very quickly because he was very instrumental in, um, the father work that I do now, which I’ve been doing for 10 years. Um, when I was 16, I decided I was gonna go to medical school. That was it, you know. Get out of my way, everybody. I don’t know why. I just decided. Um, I applied to a lot of medical schools my senior year in college, and I got, if I applied to 12 schools, I got 12 rejection letters.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: And I felt my life was over at 21. And I thought, what do I do now? I have no plan B. And, um, I devoted everything, five years to getting into medical school. And I came home one day after a jog to clear my head, and I was living back at my parents’ house, which no 21-year-old wants to, to be doing, even at that time. And I overheard my dad talking to a friend in the other room on the telephone. And I heard him, and he was talking. S- I stopped outside the door because I heard him on the phone and I heard him saying my name. And so being a woman-

Jim: Oh, yes.

Dr. Meeker: … I just put my ear to the door. And I-

Jim: I think a lot of men would do that too.

Dr. Meeker: Oh, yeah. Okay.

Jim: So, don’t, don’t be too worried.

Dr. Meeker: Well, w- we admit it.

John: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah, we all stop in that-

Dr. Meeker: We, we, we admit it. And so I stopped and I heard my father say, “Yes, yes. My daughter Meg will be going to medical school in the next couple of years.”

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Meeker: And I can’t tell you the sensation that came over my mind and my body. And I thought, it’s a reality. My becoming a doctor is a reality because my dad said so.

Jim: It was that concrete for you.

Dr. Meeker: It was huge. It was life changing. And I can still hear him saying it now. That was over 30 some years ago. I went on. I picked myself up. I did my applications again. I reapplied. And sure enough, I got in, and y- you know, history. I’m a physician now.

Jim: Meg, let me ask you though, ’cause, uh, some people listening did not have that great relationship-

Dr. Meeker: No.

Jim: … with their dad. They’re even saying, “How could you even feel that? I mean, my father never said a good thing about me.” Why did it make such an impact on you? Describe it.

Dr. Meeker: I’ll tell you why, because fathers have an authority in a child’s life that has capital A, and a father uses that authority for good or ill.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Meeker: And you, when he does something well, even if it’s just a little bit well, it’s enormous in a child’s eyes. And when he hurts you, even if it’s a little hurt, it’s enormous in a child’s eyes. So, the pains that we get from our fathers are huge, but the accolades that we get from our fathers are equally huge. And I will tell them, and listen, my dad was not a perfect dad. My dad had his own demons he fought. And, and I could have written a book talking about all the mistakes that my father did, but at some point in my life, I chose to capitalize and focus on the positives, because here’s the thing. Any father can be a great dad to his child. He can be in jail and be a great dad to his child. He can write that child letters, because every child wants desperately for their fathers to say something positive.

Jim: Mmm.

Dr. Meeker: And when a father says something positive to a child, that child hangs on it. W-

Jim: I think, let me ask you think because the, um, the, what I see is a denigrating of fathers. Fathers, I think we ourselves even, um, see us as a, uh, not a capital father.

Dr. Meeker: Of course.

Jim: We see ourselves as a little lowercase father.

Dr. Meeker: Of course, of course.

Jim: We have inhibitions. We don’t feel, uh, gifted. We don’t feel taught.

Dr. Meeker: No.

Jim: Our dad didn’t do well with us, so how are we supposed to be a good father? So we have a lot of apprehension, insecurity.

Dr. Meeker: Of course, yeah.

Jim: Um, how does a dad look beyond all of that and still aim to be a good father?

Dr. Meeker: Here’s how. Well, our culture has done a number on fathers, and women have done a number on fathers. Not intentionally, but we’ve all gotten swept up in championing women over the past 30 years. And hey, I went to an all-women’s college in 1970, I get it. I get it. You know, we wanted equality of everything. But what has happened is we’ve thrown f- good men into orbit in their homes.

Jim: Mmm.

Dr. Meeker: And we can no longer do that. But this is how any father, when I say any father out there can be a great dad to his child, this is what I mean. If he can understand how his child sees him, then he will parent very differently. And so what I’m describing to you as I talk about w- listening to my father in that conversation is as a child, as a 21-year-old child, when I heard my father say that, it changed my life. Now interestingly, years later I told my father about that conversation. He doesn’t remember saying that.

Jim: That’s typical of us dads.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

John: (laughs).

Jim: We don’t remember a lot.

Dr. Meeker: So he doesn’t, but I said, “Dad, dad, you saying that to me when I was 21 helped me write books when I was 40 and 50 and 55. It helped me get up on stage in front of thousands of people and give lectures.” And he kind of looked at me quizzically, like what are you talking about? Once a father understands what he looks like behind his child’s eyes-

Jim: Mmm.

Dr. Meeker: … his life will never be the same. So, here’s the easy part. Don’t listen to what your wives are telling you. Wives like me, who are well intentioned, but we, we are really controlling, particularly when it comes to parenting. We want to-

Jim: Did you, have you noticed that?

Dr. Meeker: We want to tell-

John: Uh, I have friends.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: You have friends. My, see, this is, I can get away saying this.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Meeker: But we do, we swoop in. We swoop in and go, “No, no, no, no, no. I got it. Thanks. If I need you to talk to the kids about that, I’ll let you know.”

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: But, and then we sort of push them away. I’ve done it with my own husband. But what we need to do is say, “Wait a minute.” Ch- I’m a pediatrician. Children need their fathers engaged in their lives, even if the wives don’t think the father’s a great husband. There is something great that you have that your child wants.

Jim: Mmm. And that is so well said, Meg. Uh, let’s apply the, the research to it.

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: Then I want to come behind that and talk about gender differences of, uh-

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: … uh, having a little boy, having a little girl, and are there differences in those needs? But hit the research. What does a father provide to a household and to those children in terms of their success, their ability, their future?

Dr. Meeker: Yeah. Well, across all demographics, socioeconomics, um, in all strata, fathers improve every aspect of a child’s life if he is living in the home. Now there are a lot of parents that are going, “No, no, no, no. You didn’t know my dad. My dad was horrible.” But listen, all the research out there says that if a dad is in the home, it doesn’t-

Jim: Present.

Dr. Meeker: Present.

Jim: Mmm.

Dr. Meeker: It doesn’t say if he’s a really good dad, if he’s a really good listener, if he’s a very good communicator, if he’s very em- … It doesn’t say that. If father is present in the home, a child is less likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem. If a father is present in the home, the, the child is far more likely to graduate high school and go onto college and graduate school, more likely to … A father’s who’s engaged with his child from the time he’s six months old on is more likely to, uh, test higher on IQ tests when he’s three.

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Meeker: So, fathers impact kids when they’re six months old until they’re three. They test higher on IQs. Um, kids are less likely to get involved in sex, drugs and alcohol in high school. They’re less likely to end up in jail with a father in a home. And a lot of parents say, “Yeah,” or mothers will say, “Yeah, but you don’t know my husband.” I say, “Yes I do. I’ve met him.” No you haven’t. Yes, I have. I’ve met every type of father you can imagine, and I’m telling you, you may disagree with him and you may not like what he does, but your child needs something from him. And as a good mother, you owe it to your child to allow that man to give it to your child and for the child to enjoy it. That’s what good parents do.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Meeker: That’s hard for women who carry a lot of, um, animosity towards men, even towards their husbands.

Jim: Well, and, and I want to get to that, but I, I do want to cover the gender differences.

Dr. Meeker: Yep.

Jim: So with having a little boy, a little girl, how does a dad father them differently, or should he?

Dr. Meeker: He do- of course he should because they’re different people.

Jim: Really?

Dr. Meeker: Oh, yeah. Gen-

Jim: The culture would not tell us that.

Dr. Meeker: Of course, but you know, you know-

Jim: So, boys and girls are different?

Dr. Meeker: Boys are, you know-

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: … Leonard Saks, great friend of mine, fabulous book, Why Gender Matters. It’s a fabulous book, and it really talks about, anybody that’s parented more than one child, and particularly, you know, more than one sex of a child. You know from, by the time a child’s six months old, they’re very different. They just come out. Boys come out moving and building and smashing.

Jim: (laughs) That’s so true.

Dr. Meeker: You know. Girls come out staring at your face.

John: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah. No, it’s so true.

Dr. Meeker: You know, adoring you. It’s true. And studies show, you know, you put a moving object in front of an infant boy and in front of an infant girl, the boy stares at it. You put a face in front of an infant boy and an infant girl, and the girl stares at the face, and the boy just can’t, w- what, what?

Jim: Looks around it.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah, he looks around it.

Jim: Yeah, this is boring.

Dr. Meeker: So, yes.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: And I, you know, of course they are. And so they’re very different, and wonderfully so. We should celebrate the differences in maleness and femaleness and, and it’s so wonderful. Fathers parent boys very differently than they parent their daughters. Fathers tend to be harder on their sons. Mothers tend to be harder on their daughters because your son, as a dad, is a mini you, and you’re gonna push him.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: And you’re gonna make him man up.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Meeker: You know. And mothers push their daughters. Mothers protect their sons. Fathers protect their daughters.

Jim: Yeah. I mean, it’s so well said. I love that.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: I can remember one time, uh, of course we have two boys, and we didn’t have a girl. We weren’t blessed with-

John: Not yet.

Jim: … a girl. Not yet (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: Not yet, yeah.

Jim: Maybe through foster adoption, that might be the way. But um, but the point of it is we had, uh, friends come over, just a couple, and their two girls were left with a babysitter. So they’re at our house, and our boys are bouncing off the walls. I mean, they’re running everywhere. “Poo, poo, poo.” They’re shooting each other with rubber band guns-

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: … and all kinds of things. And I can remember these friends said to us, “Is this what having boys is like? Are these normal boys?” We said, “Oh, yeah. These are boys.”

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: They said, “Wow, this is so different than the girls we have. Our girls just want to sit with us and talk and” …

Dr. Meeker: I know. And do crafts.

John: Yeah.

Jim: I’m like, “Are you kidding?”

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: How do you get through that?

Dr. Meeker: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: I asked the, the husband (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: How does that happen?

Dr. Meeker: How does that happen?

Jim: (laughs) You sit and talk with them?

Dr. Meeker: Well, we, we have three, three daughters and a son, and I’ll never forget the first time my son, he was probably under two, and he jumped over our couch. I thought, what has happened to our home? You know, this is, it, but it’s, it’s very different. But, but the differences are wonderful. But yes, fathers parent sons and daughters very differently, and they should. I go into that in my father-daughter book, and um, a- and- and you know, we’re all at this table old enough to know adult men who are still looking for that stamp of approval, the blessing from their father. We all know the enormous impact a father makes on our lives, and we want them to make on our lives. And so we just need to say it and deal with it, if we’re going to live healthy lives.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family, and our guest today is Dr. Meg Meeker. She’s written the book, You’ve Got This: Unlocking the Hero Dad Within. And you can get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, Meg, you said something a moment ago, I want to come back to it as well, and that was, um, the bad experience.

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: And when you look at even the feminist movement, which you talked about being a part of quickly, you just mentioned it, but I want to come back to that.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: I know, I know.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: You know, uh, being in the ’70s, in college in the ’70s and going to med school, wanting to go to-

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: … med school at that time, I mean, you probably had a lot of headwinds-

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: … because that was a male dominated profession.

Dr. Meeker: It, very much so, yeah.

Jim: And I just want to ask you, when it comes to, um, those experiences where women have had a, a bad father relationship, is a lot of that animosity as they grow older and, um, go to college, and, uh, develop attitudes toward men? Maybe their husband is not the guy that they really thought he would be. Does that, is that rooted in that father relationship originally?

Dr. Meeker: Well, you know, very much so.

Jim: Is that some of it?

Dr. Meeker: Very much so. And I believe that Jesus calls us into absolute truth, and truth in our relationships, truth in our history, truth in what we wanted, and truth in our needs and what we didn’t get. And look, it’s a broken world, and fathers are broken and the relationships with their children are broken. And so every person carries father wounds. And I, I used to say when I was talking about my father-daughter book, that every woman takes one man to her grave, and that’s her dad, for good or ill. The reality is that women who experience pain in the relationships with their fathers, who don’t recognize that pain, who don’t reconcile that pain, carry that forward into their relationships with their husbands. And there are a lot of women who have intimacy problems with their husbands because of pain with their fathers. And my point is women, if you want to enjoy the rest of your lives and you want to enjoy your family and your marriage with your husband, you’ve got to face up to the pains that you had with your father. I had pains with my father-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: … that I reconciled. And I recon- I was fortunate to reconcile them with my father in his later years of life.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Meeker: And this is what Christ calls us to do. But what our culture has led women to do is this. If you were hurt, by golly, you just turn around and you use that power for good, that energy, and you go out and you beat them at their game. Men, that is.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: That’s what we were taught in the ’70s and ’80s. And I remember listening to Gloria Steinem say things like that. “Listen, if a man is a surgeon, you go be a better surgeon. And, and whatever he can do, you can do better. And go beat him.”

Jim: So, kind of gender warfare.

Dr. Meeker: To- total gender warfare. It’s still going on.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Meeker: It’s still going on. But where does that lead women? It leads them to a dark place. It doesn’t lead them anywhere healthy. And what we end up doing is isolating from men, isolating from fathers and from husbands, and taking our kids with us.

Jim: When you look at, um, and, and it’s interesting to think of it in those terms, but when you look at the church-

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: … particularly, um, how has the world seeped in to women’s thinking within Christianity? Um, where are those boundaries? Have they bought into some of that worldly perspective? M- maybe with good reason, because their husbands have been not good.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah, yes.

Jim: And w- what does a Christian woman respond with? I mean-

Dr. Meeker: Well, I, I don’t know, and, and I will confess my ignorance here because I don’t read a lot of, a lot of Christian women stuff. I don’t know that Christian women have ade- as the church has adequately taught us how to in a healthy way reconcile pain with men, because we either tell women, “What your role is to do,” and this is what I learned as a wife, “your role is to submit to your husband and just sort of take a big, deep breath and pray about it and God will be your husband and he’ll help you endure your marriage.” I don’t think Jesus wants us to do that. And then we have on the other extreme, we have, “Okay, well you know what, Jesus wants to empower you. He’s gifted you. Um, he’s championing you. He is your husband, so go out and set the world on fire.” But the truth of the matter is, women really don’t want to do either of those things, and I don’t know that Jesus wants us to, to do either. Jesus wants us in healthy, intimate relationship with men, and he wants us to embrace our femininity, and, and all that means, and he wants us to em- embrace our husband’s masculinity and all that it means. And as confused as our culture is about what is masculinity and what is femininity, even the- those in the transgender movement like femininity because, you know, transgender men want to become feminine, and feminine want to become men. So, we just don’t know how to reconcile all this, but Christ can. Women in the church I know have pain from their relationships with their dads that they have brought into their marriages that they don’t even recognize. Men are, their husbands are dealing with it, they are dealing with it, and Christ says, “Face it, deal with it, so I can free you up to have a healthy, wonderful relationship with your husband.” And that’s how you really lead families into-

Jim: Okay.

Dr. Meeker: … fruitful relationships.

Jim: That’s good.

John: Uh, Dr. Meeker, along those lines, um, i- i- talk to the dad who’s got an older child, son or daughter, and he knows he’s the reason for the distance in the relationship. He made some mistakes. What, what is something he can do to start building that bridge so he can have a healthier relationship with his kids and they can have healthier relationships?

Dr. Meeker: You know, that’s a great question, John. Thank you for asking it, because I deal with that quite a lot. So many men call in and say, “I am estranged from my adult daughter. She’s 35. I haven’t spoken to her since she was 17. She wants nothing to do with me. And I get it because I really made a lot of mistakes, and she won’t answer my texts, she won’t answer my calls. What do I do?” And I say, “Here’s the deal. In, in any father-child relationship, even if that child is 50 years old, that child perceives you as the grown-up in the relationship, the one to take the lead. So, you don’t wait for your adult child to lead. You lead. You’re always the leader.” And I have a whole chapter on you’re the leader, not the coach. I expected my father to still lead when he was 80 years old, you know. Why? I don’t know, I just did, because I was always the kid. So, you take the initiative to reach out to your, your child, and you persevere, and you persevere and you never, ever, ever give up because this is what you need to know. Every child, son or daughter, no matter how old they are, wants and needs reconciliation with their father because those are child wounds. Those wounds happened when that son or daughter was a child and you are an adult. So, they will always feel like a child wound, not an adult wound. So, they are motivated to reconcile with you, but their anger and contempt that’s gotten so thickly encased around their heart has to break down before they’re willing to engage you. So that’s why you never give up, but you constantly lead. And you go at them. And then you, you come to them and say, “Look, I really messed up. And I really want to reconcile with you. And I really need God’s help and your help. Will you help me? Know how to help you heal from what I did to you, and I will do my best to stick with you along the way.” Here’s the thing. A child, particularly a daughter of a dad who has wounded her, is gonna be the most forgiving person that man will ever meet. It won’t be his wife. It’ll be his daughter because the daughter wants healing with her dad. And then will be the son, because the son wants healing with his father. So, they will come around, but it may take years, because they have built up this wall around them of such anger.

John: So, he d- he just needs to keep trying.

Dr. Meeker: Keep at it.

John: And trying.

Dr. Meeker: Never, never, never give up. And he, if he needs to get on a plane and show up at their house, do it.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: M- Meg, let me pull that a little further, uh, into the man’s thinking.

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: Because so many dads, and I, I want to know if you agree with this or disagree, please do (laughs). But as men, we often, when we are emotionally wounded, we hide.

Dr. Meeker: Of course, sure.

Jim: We do it in marriage, and I think we do it in parenting.

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: When we don’t feel appreciated, respected, whatever it might be, many men simply go to the corner emotionally, maybe not physically. We’re involved and we’re engaged, but not in the same way. A, is that true? And how does a woman, um, better understand that? Because I see women responding differently. Women typically want to get to it. Let’s talk it through. Tell me what’s going on. And they want to reconcile, like you said, even daughters. I think that’s something about the woman’s brain wiring. They’re more willing, more engaged, more verbal.

Dr. Meeker: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Men, when they are wounded in some way, they back up.

Dr. Meeker: Yeah.

Jim: Because we don’t want to be embarrassed, we don’t want to be disrespected, and so we just check out.

Dr. Meeker: Yes. And I think there’s one more thing. I think that, and I’ve seen this in my husband. I think the kinder the man, the more he hides his feelings.

Jim: Mmm.

Dr. Meeker: And I think that men too don’t want to feel, because they’re afraid if the anger comes up, it can be overwhelming and they’re much bigger than everybody in the house and, and my husband has said, “I, you know, when you come at me and you’re trying to get me angry, I just have to go away because I can’t be that angry in front of you.”

Jim: That’s called pushing buttons.

Dr. Meeker: Exactly. So, men, for our good, hide. And when a man hides his hurt, a woman understands this at, as coldness and distance and lack of understanding and lack of compassion. And it’s really quite the opposite. Um, it’s interesting. Like I find that high school boys often have a harder time, uh, getting over broken relationships than the girls do because girls talk about it, the boys don’t. But back to the husband who hides his feelings because he’s so wounded. Fathers get their feelings hurt very deeply by teenagers, particularly teenage girls. Dad comes to hug his adorable 13-year-old who always loved to sit on her dad’s lap and hug her, and now she stands there like a telephone pole with spikes all over her, and he tries to hug her, and she repels him and he says, “What’s happened,” and he goes away. So, he doesn’t hug her because he said, “Clearly, she doesn’t want to be hugged anymore.”

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: Right?

Jim: And, and-

Dr. Meeker: So, he goes away for years. Which, and I say, “Dads, no, no, no.” What she is saying is, “Dad, I don’t feel very good about myself. This is horrible. Please don’t take me personally.” But he says, “Well, you just told me you didn’t want to be hugged.”

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Meeker: So, we think so very differently.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: So what fathers need to know when they’re quiet in their homes and their wives are telling them they don’t feel and that they’re distant and they’re cold and they’re disengaged is this. Your child is screaming at you every single day, “Dad, please come out. I need you.”

Jim: Mmm.

Dr. Meeker: “Dad, whatever you have, please give it to me. I need you.” That is so important because the wife won’t tell the father, the, the husband that because she’s mad because he’s not doing his job.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Meeker: He’s not helping her out, and, and engaging with the kids, and what’s wrong? He’s back into orbit.

Jim: He’s got an F on the report card.

Dr. Meeker: Yes. And he’s going, “I just don’t know how to deal with this. I don’t know what you people want. You know, you tell me you don’t want me and so I orbit the home, and all you do is complain.” But what he needs to understand is every time his child, whether he’s five or 15 or even 25, walks into a room and dad is there, that child is saying to him, if he could, “Please, please, please dad, look at me. Give me what you can.” And if a father can understand that his child always needs that, his parenting will turn 180 degrees. And that’s my job, I feel as a pediatrician, is to scream that to fathers from the rooftops. We want you back.

Jim: Yeah. And we need to be back.

Dr. Meeker: W- yes.

Jim: And that’s the key. Dr. Meg Meeker, uh, I’ve got some more questions for you, but we have run out of time. And uh, and incredibly this has flown by. I want to come back next time and ask you some practical questions for dads. Y- you have in the book three questions we need to know.

Dr. Meeker: Yes.

Jim: Those kinds of things. So, can you stay with us?

Dr. Meeker: I’d love to.

Jim: Okay, let’s do that.

John: Well, be sure to stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY to get your copy of that great book, You’ve Got This: Unlocking the Hero Dad Within, written by our guest today, Dr. Meg Meeker. We also have a CD or a download of today’s broadcast, and it’s really worth listening to again, so you can unpack more of these things, or maybe even share it in a small group setting.

Jim: And I hope you’ll consider supporting Focus on the Family to help us impact more families for Christ. If you can make a monthly donation today, we’ll say thank you by sending a copy of this excellent book to you. If you’re unable to make an ongoing commitment at this time, we’d appreciate a one-time gift. And of course, we’ll be happy to send you that book as well.

John: And, uh, donate generously as you can today. Our number, 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. Plan to be with us next time, as we continue the conversation with Dr. Meg Meeker, and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Hero dad front cover

You've Got This: Unlocking the Hero Dad Within

Receive the book You've Got This for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Understanding Your Spouse’s Emotions (Part 1 of 2)

Drs. David and Jan Stoop discuss the concept of emotional intelligence – the ability to understand your emotions, as well as your spouse’s. The Stoops explain how bettering that understanding can help you improve and strengthen your marriage. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Celebrating the Journey to Becoming a Dad

After a successful football career in the NFL, Benjamin Waston has turned his attention to celebrating fatherhood by encouraging first-time dads to be the man their wife and children need them to be. Benjamin speaks into the crisis of fatherlessness and the necessity for men to step up and take responsibility. A father’s role is a cornerstone in the family, and men must be ready to be physically and emotionally present. Benjamin walks through practical steps that dads can follow during the pregnancy all the way to raising newborns. Parenting kids is a full time commitment and can be chaotic at times, but Benjamin reminds us that all children are a gift from God.

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.