Five Things Your Parents Wish They Could Tell You

Gerrit Scott Dawson

Once upon a time you could tell your parents anything. Now, there may be some things you don’t want to tell them or some feelings you just can’t express. Would it surprise you to learn that your parents may feel the same way?

When their children become teenagers, many parents find it harder to express their affection. So often their words come out as a plan for how you should be better. Sometimes they seem downright angry. Long stretches of time pass in which you and your parents say nothing of substance to each other. You may as well be living on different planets.

I know how it is. I’m on my fourth teenager. Why can’t I say what my heart really feels? Why is conversation so awkward for all of us?


Maybe your parents wish that they could say to you what I’d say to my teenagers if I could.

devozine TS 200251659-0011. I love you so much it takes my breath away. I know I can’t run over and pick you up any more. I can’t blow on your tummy or talk to you in public with a silly voice. But my heart still overflows with boundless love for you. Sometimes I sneak a peek at you when you’re sleeping and remember that you’re still my little one and always will be. No matter what comes out of my mouth when we fight, the truth is that I love you more than my own life.


2. I know that I have messed you up. I haven’t always been fair. I have had expectations that were too high and too low. Some days I came too close, and others I stayed away too long. I didn’t always listen well. You got the best of me — and the worst of me. I live with the pain of knowing I have made your life harder. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me.


3. When you talk to me, it makes my heart sing. When you were little, you talked to me all the time. I took for granted that you’d always talk to me. Now when you don’t, I miss you. So I ask a ton of questions, enough to make you so irritated you clam up. What I want to say is that your words are precious to me. You give me joy when you talk a little bit about your life, your joys, your concerns, your plans, and your dreams.


devozine Dad & Son TS 1198609504. Your words have a lot of power. One word of gratitude will get me through a month of silence. If I never feel appreciated by you, I feel diminished. But when you say, “Thanks,” my whole life is better. I don’t expect a letter every day telling me what a great parent I am; but if you notice that I pick up after you or cook a meal for you, give you a ride when I’m busy or give you money when I’m broke, that bit of thanks does me a world of good.


5. All this God stuff is true. You know what a poor Christian I am. You could prove in court that I’m a hypocrite. But I have come to know that Jesus is the meaning of life. The secret of joy is in the presence of Jesus, and our deepest comfort in times of trouble is his peace. Underneath all the day-to-day jostling of our lives, my deepest desire is that you will know Christ and find joy in your life.


Dig Deeper

If this article came to you as a letter from your parents, how would you feel? How would you respond? Write down five things you wish you could say to your parents. Consider showing them this article and your response.


Also, tell us in the comment section below what you love about your parents. Let’s celebrate parents together!

Gerrit Scott Dawson is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

—from Devo'Zine (May/June 2006). Copyright © 2006 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.
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