clarkson husbandMedia confession: Beryl and I watch American Idol regularly. Because it often actually moves us.

Sometimes the performances are lukewarm; every now and then they are jaw-dropping. Recently, Kelly Clarkson, the Season 1 winner, told a story through song that brought tears streaming down my cheeks—and those of the judges and many in the audience.

We intuitively know dads matter, but in our dramatically changing family culture that often questions the value of fathers, we sometimes need a reminder. Kelly gave us a jaw-dropping one.

Her song, Piece by Piece, compares her experience with a father who disappeared when she was a young girl, to her husband who is a present, loving father to her kids. “He filled the holes you burned in me when I was 6 years old…He restored my faith that a man could be kind, and that a father could stay.”

Every small step of engagement he makes with her, her daughter and her soon-to-be born son, instills in them a sense of significance and safety. One day, one decision at a time.

If you’re a dad, you can instill that same significance in your kids, too. Because you matter. Piece by piece.

(Dads of daughters, please read this: Milestones on Your Journey with Your Daughter. Dads of sons, read this: How to Get to Your Son’s Heart.)



  1. First, I want to be clear that I do not watch American Idol. Ever since I saw Bo Bice lose after playing with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 2006, I knew the show was manipulated to play toward a more feminine side of the entertainment industry. Real, authentic southern rock against Carrie Underwood – I am sorry that should have been no contest.

    I also must admit to being a bit squeamish about husbands replacing absent or abusive fathers for our wives. Having been both a husband to one wife and father to three daughters, I believe we have to engage in some delineation of the roles.

    A father to daughters needs to train, challenge and, very occasionally, push. However, ultimately they must provide a safe, secure haven.

    A husband must certainly love his wife unconditionally (Eph 5:25) and serve her following Jesus’ example in John 13:1-7. However, he should also be the type of leader who helps the couple go where they might not otherwise go. Just like there is something a bit wild about God, there should be something a bit “undomesticated” about each husband. Or, as Ronnie Van Zant famously said on the original recording of “Sweet Home Alabama,” we must be willing to occasionally “turn it up.”

    Most of us arrive in marriage as slightly wounded creatures. Certainly we want to care for each other and “put oil” on the most egregious wounds. However, ultimately I need to avoid the temptation to be my wife’s “father replacement” and commit myself to accompany her on her journey to wholeness as her husband.

    • Thanks for engaging with your wit and insight, Woody! Keep it coming.

      We voted for Carrie.

  2. Well, I have to admit I am an Idol junkie too. I love the range of emotions the show invokes. I really enjoy the first few weeks where the gold tickets to Hollywood are given out; so much genuine joy. Even though there is heartbreak there is still joy; it’s contagious.

    I lost my Dad 8 years ago and miss him everyday. We were very close, especially in my adult life. I wrote this poem last year on the 7th anniversary of his passing.

    The Other Side

    Time is on my side, but extracts its daily fee
    Whether climbing heights, or when I abide It takes its toll on me

    Endowed from God, a precious gift, an opportunity
    To be a blessing, to serve the Lord
    To prepare for eternity

    Help me see Lord, convict my soul, prod me towards Your way
    Your wisdom is perfect, my priorities suspect
    Please grant me Lord – this day

    Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done,should always guide my needs
    To help the poor, to love the child
    To cast the Gospel’s seeds

    And when at last You call me home, I want You to see I tried
    And hear You say, well done my son
    Come with Me to the other side

    Ron Robins © 2014

    • Great words, Ron. Thanks for letting us see them.

  3. My father never left our family, but I was still brought to tears thinking of the pain this little girl endured and the husband who helped a young women restore her faith in men.

    As men, we have the ability to destroy or deliver on our promise to love our families as God loves us. Men do matter and our significance runs deep. If you doubts this, just listen to Kelly’s song one more time.

    • Thanks for being one of the faithful ones, Brad.

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