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Great Father Tip #12: Unconditional Love

October 13, 2011

Come and get it!!!

The final trait in our Great Father series is unconditional love.  Pretty straightforward, yes?  I think unconditional love is an easy concept to understand intellectually, but much tougher to execute in real life.  Sometimes the best way to understand something is to look at what it is not.  Unconditional love is not conditional on circumstances.  It does not wane or fade when the going gets tough.  How many of us grew up in homes where there seemed to be more love when we performed well?  Did you go out for ice cream after any game, or just the games you won?  When mistakes or misjudgements were made, were there periods of “freezing out” or grudge holding?  Was affection displayed more freely in good circumstances and withheld when things got tough?  When you were in a really tough situation, did you feel like you could turn to your Dad or were you scared or him or scared of being disappointed again?

Unconditional love is literally an open embrace, no matter what the circumstances.  This can be quite difficult when our kids make major messes.  Just ask the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).  The son made quite a mess.  He took his inheritance and blew it on wine, women and song.  Eventually, the son returned ready to be a servant in his own father’s house.  Take a moment and think about all the ways the father could have responded.  He could have blasted his son with anger and shamed him for his poor judgement.  He could have ignored his son because of his own hurt feelings.  The  father could have kept the return of his son a secret, because he was embarrassed by how the son had ruined the family name.  He could have spent the rest of his life reminding his son that he owed good ole dad one, because he took him back in.

Instead, the father embraced the return of his son and held a feast in his honor (much to the chagrin of the older brother).  Talk about unconditional love!!!  I wonder to myself, could I be that loving and nonjudgmental?  I am not sure.  We really cannot argue with the results.  Love does actually triumph over all.

Great fathers are able to rise above pettiness, jealousy and ego to love their children unconditionally no matter what the circumstances.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at

One Comment leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    October 14, 2011 7:42 am

    Another great one, Pat… …..thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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