Dear Dad

Jonathan Chism
Jun 09, 2024By Jonathan Chism

"Dear Fathers"

The Autism Dads Social Club has met with leaders from several organizations since our inception in 2022. This year we had the opportunity to meet with Jesse, the cofounder of Dear Fathers, "The Premiere Media Platform dedicated to telling stories of black fathers from all angles while also empowering our community with tangible resources that inspire, heal, and strengthen the black man." 

In celebration of Father Day, a few dads from the Autism Dads Social Club attended a live podcast recording at the Ensemble Theater featuring the legendary Hip Hop mogul Master P and his son, Mercy Miller, who is an incoming freshmen at the University of Houston and will be playing on the men's basketball team. Master P offered wisdom and nuggets about fatherhood, and Mercy discussed his appreciation for the valuable lessons that he has learned from his father. The podcast host poignantly concluded the segment by asking Mercy to compose a sincere ode to his dad starting with "Dear Father . . ."  His thoughts were sincere, warm, and touching.

two gold capsule elevator

Mercy's reflection made me wander what my nonverbal son might say to me if he were able to verbalize his thoughts and feelings in a letter on Fathers Day. 

An Imaginary Letter

Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day! Even though I can’t speak, I have so much to say to you. Today, I want you to know how much you mean to me and how deeply I appreciate you.

Thank you for always being there for me. Your patience and understanding make my days brighter. Even when words don’t come easily to me, you always seem to understand what I need. You look at me with eyes full of love and never make me feel different or less.

I love the way you laugh. Your hugs make me feel safe, and you make me feel that everything is going to be okay when I am agitated and anxious. You are my hero, my friend, and my guide.

I know I can be challenging sometimes, but your strength and kindness never waver. You teach me new things and celebrate my successes, no matter how small they may seem. You show me that I am capable and loved just the way I am.

Your love is a language I understand perfectly. It’s in the way you play with me, the way you comfort me when I’m upset, and the way you never give up on me. I see how hard you work to give me the best life possible, and I want you to know how grateful I am for everything you do.

Thank you for being my dad. Thank you for loving me, believing in me, and always being my biggest supporter. I love you more than words can say.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

With all my love,

Your Child

Alternate Ways of Communicating Love

Although my son and many of our nonverbal sons and daughters cannot yet share their thoughts and feelings in a traditional way, let's be open to receiving their distinct manner of sharing love. My son communicates his love through his hugs and cuddles and desireness for closeness and comfort. I feel his love through his smiles and giggles. We are working on helping him to use his augmented communication device, PECS, and other alternate forms of communication to share his feelings more effectively.

Still, as we strive to help him improve his capacity to communicate, I recognize that love is bigger than words. It is something that we should express verbally if able. Yet, love is something that we feel as humans.

Ultimately, every child is unique, and the ways they express love can vary widely. Although many of our autistic kids struggle to communicate using words, let's listen to and discern their specific ways of communicating and recognize their subtle and meaningful expressions of love.