Unfinished Business

Doing the right thing.

How I Learned That My Father Loved Me

A childhood photo touches a heart and reveals a truth.

For so many years I resisted his urge to coach me, whether it was in baseball or life. When he prescribed a course of action, my first instinct was to do the opposite -- to drive fast instead of slow; to travel far from home, instead of pursuing the safe and secure path he wanted me to follow. I was quick, in my need to separate from him and his dreams for me, to think that he never really understood or appreciated me for who I was, that he wanted to make me into a greater, perfect, idealized version of himself. Over the years I persuaded myself that he never really loved me, that if I ever had children, I would become a different sort of dad.

How wrong I was!  As I've grown older and experienced my share of ups and downs, as I've married and become a father myself, as I've begun to address the unfinished business of my life, I've become increasingly aware of how much the man in this and other photographs from my childhood has always wanted only the best for me. Now that I'm a dad, I look at this photo, taken when I was two, and see only love -- the love of my father for his son.

See All Stories In

On Fatherhood

Our relationship with our parents can be complicated—even rocky. But whether they're young or old, dads are just as important as moms.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.


Look through your family photos for a photograph of you and your father. Have your feelings toward that photograph changed over the years? What did you used to see when you looked at that photo? What do you see now? Why do you think your feelings toward the photograph -- and your father -- have changed? Cick here to share your story.

Lee Kravitz is the author of UNFINISHED BUSINESS: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things (Bloomsbury).

Lee Kravitz is the author of the books "Pilgrim" and "Unfinished Business" and formerly editor-in-chief of Parade magazine.

more...

Subscribe to Unfinished Business

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?