I was reading a story recently about a family in Madrid, Spain. The father had had a strong conflict with his teenage boy. In their relationship, they were clashing all the time, but then the boy said some truly awful things and was making choices so that they could no longer keep him in the household. At the last minute, the father tried to plead with him to stay, but he wouldn’t.

It’s the story of this horribly broken relationship. The father went throughout Spain looking for his son, then he got word that the boy might be in Madrid, so the father went to Madrid. The city is enormous, though, so he couldn’t find his son anywhere. He decided to make one last ditch effort. He put an ad in the newspaper that said, “Paco, this is your father. I love you. All is forgiven. Come home.” He included that he would wait at the entrance of the news station two days after the ad ran.

He submitted the ad to the paper and then waited.

On the appointed day, the father went to the news station and stood on the steps. Records say that over 800 young men named Paco showed up. Eight hundred young men were saying, “If only my father would reach out to me. If my father would say that I’m forgiven, if my father would call out to me, things would be different.”

I want to ask the fathers reading this to be that kind of father. Do this before your children leave, okay? Let them know that they are loved. Let them know that you are proud of them. Speak words of blessing over them. For young men, a father often times speaks into their masculinity and gives them a sense of confidence and power. A father to a daughter gives them a great sense of who they are in Christ and who they are in their femininity.

This is the heart of God that Paul points to: “’I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:16, 18, ESV).

He searches us out; he speaks into our hearts the truth of who we are made to be.