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41 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:


    “Do you think this is an appropriate father-son interaction”?

    Yes… but for those who have not known this, it is much more that merely appropriate… it is vital.

  2. Michael says:


    Yes…so vital.
    My life would have been very different…

  3. Francisco says:

    Great article Michael.
    I know it blessed many

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you, my friend…

  5. Nancy Holmes says:

    In the photo, Hunter gazes at the camera. I read in his expression, a clear-eyed confidence in his father’s love. May we all come to know that confidence in Our Father’s love…

  6. Michael says:

    Amen, Nancy…

  7. Em says:

    “Spare the rod and spoil the child?” Perhaps, but there is more to it. Love without discipline will spoil a child. But discipline without love is horrendous. …
    I thank God for growing up in the home of loving grandparents. I wasn’t a loveable child, but they understood grace and Christian love. Why me, God? No answer to that, but thank you, Lord. O thank You so much.. 🙏

  8. Michael says:


    My grandma was my lifeline too…

  9. prodinov says:

    well said…being the same age, I experienced the same…as have many of those I have known born in the 50’s….the fathers seem to be of the same make in regards to how they treated sons….my father was military and the structure/along with Vietnam war seemed to damage these men who left a void for their children…my son, and I often have these discussions since my father/his grandfather is now passed, and the love issue is one we have to dance around…using humor at times to allow us freedom to express….so if a bad week, we end our salutations with “no love this week-burned out” to a good week of saying cautiously, “love you bunches but that is all you get this week, no money forthcoming”…so using humor allows us small advancements in demonstrating affection but it remains difficult at times….

  10. Michael says:


    Over the years it seems to get easier…but always a little strained.

  11. KathyB says:

    Honestly the picture makes me squirm. I also did not experience affection from my parents. I knew they loved me yet I don’t remember one kiss as a child, maybe a hug now and then. They said, “love you” a few times! As an adult I realized that was a way to tell someone you loved them without it getting too intimate! But I wish I had this kind of affection and love as a child. I married a man who was kissed often by both his parents and repeatedly told how proud they were of him and how much they loved him. As a parent I’ve tried to move that way. It’s hard and uncomfortable but it’s good.

  12. Michael says:


    My prayer for all of us is that someday, nothing will be more comfortable…

  13. parker says:

    Thanks for sharing, Michael. An emotional read for me. I can relate. As busy as Joe Biden is, he talks to his children and grandchildren every day. I can only wonder what it might have been like to have a father like that, and what a difference it could make in a child’s life.

  14. Michael says:

    Thank you, parker…good to see you again.

  15. josh hamrick says:

    Just last night, I was sitting on the couch finishing up some work. My 12 year old son walked by headed to bed, and leaned over and kissed my bald head. He gets it. And there is nothing in the world that makes me more proud. Because it’s generation changing. His sons will be kissed and his son’s sons and will be kissed.

    And they’ll never be sitting in front of counselor at 45 years old crying, “Why didn’t my dad love me?”

  16. Michael says:

    “Because it’s generation changing. His sons will be kissed and his son’s sons and will be kissed.”
    Amen, Josh…and well done.

  17. bob1 says:

    My dad was a “Greatest Generation” guy who fought in the Pacific in what he used to call “The Big One,” WWII…he wasn’t super affectionate but it didn’t really affect our friendship (speaking as an adult). People express love in different ways…

    I remember watching a Dana Carvey special where he talked about his own dad. One thing he said of the greatest generation was, “They couldn’t stand being weak/showing weakness.” That’s too bad really; showing weakness and vulnerability can draw people together, doesn’t matter whether it’s male or female, IMHO. But that was a different time in a lot of ways.

  18. Em says:

    I wish i could look at Hunter B. and not see a soulless schemer. I have no idea what is in his heart and head, but there is that flag that says, “don’t get on this guy’s bad side…. I have seen too many kids who know how to play their proud parents, i guess
    A confused and ungrounded man? Perhaps… Dunno

  19. Michael says:

    My intent is not to judge either Biden for good or ill…it was simply to say that whatever their issues are, this isn’t one of them.

  20. josh hamrick says:

    Yeah, I don’t like Biden. The question was about this picture of a father kissing his son.

    Weird time when I have to make that caveat.

  21. Michael says:

    “People express love in different ways…”
    Indeed…what matters is that it’s expressed.

  22. Captain Kevin says:

    Definitely appropriate. So glad you and Trey have a loving relationship.

  23. Michael says:

    Thanks, CK…I’m blessed, indeed.

  24. Em says:

    Michael, no doubt the Biden family is one for and all for one from what I’ve read in various news articles, but sometimes that is a corrosive dynamic?
    I recall a neighbor telling me that they came home one night to find another neighbors son setting their carport on fire. They called his parents (not the police) and were told, “It wasn’t X. He’s been here all evening watching TV with us.”
    I had a similar experience with this kid when he put his fist through the garage door window and ran off. It was fairly late at night and i called his parents. Got the same story. I said, “No, you don’t understand. He pounded on the window breaking it and he may be out there somewhere badly cut.” His mother didn’t miss a beat, “Oh. I’ll call Y. He’ll come when she calls him!”. The kid ended up in jail, BTW

  25. Bride of Christ says:

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story and for being so transparent, Michael . Childhood wounds are the most difficult to recover from. I had a “fifties” father who was raised by a harsh father and he also spent time in the Army. He was very distant when I was growing up and I definitely felt a void. Then my family moved overseas across the world leaving me behind in the states when I was just 17 years old. I came to Christ at 19, found a family of believers, and I gained a Holy Father and brothers and sisters in Christ. Interestingly, my own father had a kind of breakdown when his own father, a tacturn Swedish immigrant, died. My father was forced into therapy by his crippling depression. After that, he was a changed man – more loving and more open with his feelings ( they were there all along ) I feel very lucky to have a good relationship with him now ( he’s 93!)

  26. Michael says:


    There are a lot of issues in any family…but honest expressions of love will never be one of them.

  27. Michael says:

    Bride of Christ,

    May you have many more years together…and thank you.

  28. Mike E. says:

    My own father was a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic. He abandoned the family and I was raised by a single mother. My dad came by when we had our first son and held him. Then I raised my whole family with no contact from him. However, the story has a redemptive quality. After all my kids were raised, he came to my sister and I and apologized and wanted to have a relationship. I hated him. But…as a believer, I knew I had to forgive him, so I did. The forgiveness has been an ongoing process. But we are completely reconciled and have a decent relationship. He’s 82 now. Only problem I have is my adult children want nothing to do with him. Which is kinda sad, but they never knew him at all. Perhaps God will do a work in their hearts. 🤷‍♂️

  29. Michael says:

    Mike E.,

    I never found place for real forgiveness…simply exclusion.
    He was dead to me before he died.
    I will have to reckon with this at some point…bless you.

  30. My birth mother was taken off The Rez and adopted out as they did back then. She fell into drugs and alcohol, sadly the tragic stereotype, and had me as a teen with my white dad who was also an addict. Her adoptive parents (both university professors) couldn’t raise me and I was sent to foster care. My mother adopted me, a single parent bi-racial adoption, very controversial. I was 2.4 at the time. My mom finally married her friend after he had a stroke when I was in my 20s. I never had a real father figure since my mom never had boyfriends, choosing to be celibate after her 1960s experiences in SFO.

    I resented my mom for not giving me a dad. I was such a jerk that I refused to drive from the bay area to lake Tahoe to attend their wedding. At age 30 you finally gave me a dad mom, really? I had moved out on my 18th birthday due to my latchkey child independence as well as my mother having a mental breakdown. By 30, I had already moved out of state to Gresham, Oregon, then returned. I didn’t “need” anybody other than my long term friends.

    Then I had a son at 39, and a daughter at 41, children I had always wanted, but didn’t think I’d have. From the time they were babies, I’d cuddle them and look them in their eyes and tell them I loved them. I’d kiss their heads as they fell asleep, barely awake and whisper that I loved them. They’d brux (lightly grind their teeth in happiness) like my pet rats used to do, the eat analog of purring.

    I don’t do it much now since she’s 8, but I used to tell my daughter, “let me tell you a secret,” and she’d lean in and I’d whisper into her ear, “I love you, ” and she’d hug me tight. At 10, I still lay down and hug my son tight for a few minutes as bedtime after prayers.

    The therapist I saw for a couple of years (the family one my ex abandoned me to in order to get “fixed”) once asked me, “you never had a father. How do you know how to be one? ” I stared into the room, burning $165/hour. I dunno. Doing and being that which I imagined that I missed?

    That all stated, I did have a Father, our Heavenly Father, and that saved me during many dark and depressing teenage years. So thank you God, for loving me. Try to be something like that too my own children, as imperfect and as flawed as I am.

  31. Mike E. says:

    TNV…I’m sorry you experienced so much pain and had such a horrific childhood. I commend you for your choice to break that cycle. It takes a heck of a lot to overcome childhood abuse and survive. But to then make good and righteous choices as an adult, and living for God and family. I hope you can give yourself that, knowing how survivors like us can be very hard on ourselves. God bless you and your family, man. You inspire me.

  32. Em says:

    strangely, even though we talk of the “greatest generation” the post WW2 years were unsettled for many… both my husband and I grew up in our grandparents’ homes. Mine was stable and loving. My husband’s was not. He related how his grandfather berated him at the dinner table calling him a bastard (he wasn’t) and declaring he’d end up in prison (he didn’t). Actually my husband had a very successful career and really came to redeeming faith in the Navy. God can do miracles… folks here give me inspiration as i read of what so many have had to go through
    God keep

  33. Dread says:

    My natural father was married 7 times to 6 women. He fathered daughters by 4 women and by his stepdaughter – yes. All together 6 daughters and myself. He died penniless and a lifelong alcoholic. I preached his funeral.

    My stepdad adopted me. He was marred twice before my mother and had various lovers throughout his marriage to my mother. He was a hard man – tough – he never apologized — never explained his philandering and rage. He impregnated a business partner with whom he squandered my mother’s family inheritance leaving her penniless. I preached his funeral as well and arranged private visitation for his second family.

    These men left carnage but the grace of Christ was upon my family after several of us were converted post high school.

    My dad (adoptive) and I were never close but he always said he loved me – a habit we developed because of Jesus prompting me to say it first. 6 weeks before he died he asked me about my “damn hair” I laughed and said it was long because of a Nazarite vow (a fib). “What the hell is that boy?” he said to my 48 year old self. I gave him a 2 minute Bible Study. When I left he said “Got any more of those? Bring me another one tomorrow.” I gave my father a two minute Bible study daily until he died. He went to sleep in Jesus surrounded by family with me driving all night falling 30 minutes short.

    The pain of losing them in 2 years was ravaging even though we weren’t close. 8 months after my adoptive dad died I was in Mozambique and had an encounter with Christ among the orphans. Wept for three days and have never felt another emotion other than love for my deceased fathers.

    Sorry that’s way too much. But God has been kind to fill the holes. It was one year later that I met one of my heroes who has been to me a father since then. He’s 87 and will preach in my church in Nov.

    I am the only son of the only son of the only son. I have a son who has a son. Kisses are normal and freely given.

    Whoever besmirched Biden for loving and kissing his son is impoverished beyond words.

  34. brian says:

    I had a long post concerning my father, I deleted it. I loved my father, I tried to be a good son (something I miserably failed at) and I forgave him before he died and I was there for him. Even he said that in the end. Its hard being a father, and its hard being a son/daughter.

  35. brian says:

    Dread I don’t know if this means anything but I am sorry for what happened and I am joyous that U had the chance to see reconciliation that is a wonderful gift of God.

  36. Mike E. says:

    Dread…It’s truly amazing what God can and will do…I’m reminded there’s many Scriptures in which God expresses His Heart toward, “the fatherless.” In my own life, God provided a surrogate father for me in the person of Tom Day. Tom was my wife’s stepfather. When I met him, he was a vulgar, alcoholic mess. My wife shared her experience with Christ and God did an amazing work in Tom’s life. He changed Tom from a maniacal substance abuser into a godly, amazing man. Tom took a special interest in me and we shared many fishing and camping trips together. In my own father’s absence, he was the grandfather to my children. We all adored him. He passed in 2011. I could go on and on about him, but suffice it to say, he was a gift from God to both me and my children. Like Brian, I offer my condolence to you for your biological father’s bad choices that hurt you so much. BUT GOD………. 🙂

  37. Michael says:

    Thank you all for sharing your stories…it allows others to see the grace of God working in a fallen world.
    Thank you for your heart and courage…we need lots of both these days.

  38. pstrmike says:

    Today is the anniversary of the death of my wife’s dad. He drank himself to death. We never met, but he left an incredible path of wreckage while on his personal road to destruction. Truly, no man is an island.

    I’ll never forget the sense of pain and empathy for his two young teenage daughters when it was announced to our church that he had died. They had been taken away from him two years prior. At least then didn’t have to witness his last days, but the foster care system they were in was almost as hellish.

    Some times, for some people, there doesn’t seem to be enough of a cathartic experience to take away the pain. You just learn to live with it.

    My own dad was almost as bad; his redemption was that he was finally able to get his drinking somewhat under control. When he died, I was numb and every event of his mistreatment to me, my sisters, my mom, our dogs, played over and over in my head. I finally got the strength to share the gospel with him one more time, and he responded. Five minutes later, he was sedated into a deep sleep and died 12 hours later. I still wonder if I will see him again, and the idea of a reunion with him is very uncomfortable for me.

  39. Em says:

    Pastor Mike, interesting ponder….
    I think we all have redeemed folk that we hope God keeps way over on the other side of heaven… But who knows what really lurks inside trapped by our mortal flesh…

  40. pstrmike says:

    Thanks. It is one of the many mysteries and inconsistencies that I deal with. I have told my congregation that life is like being in purgatory, and I am trying to work my way out of the pastor section of heaven and attain a higher standing……..

  41. Muff Potter says:

    My dad was of that greatest generation too.
    He flew a B-17 in the air war over Germany.
    He and one of the waist gunners were the only two of the original crew to survive all 25 missions.
    Dad was never the huggy type, but we all knew that he loved us with all of his heart.
    Alcohol took his life in 1979.

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