Here’s a Father’s Day idea that will speak to one of your man’s greatest desires, and it won’t cost a cent.

I recently read a book called Love and Respect which explores one of the differences between women and men. Author Dr Eggerichs says that a woman’s primary desire is to be loved, and a man’s primary desire is to be respected. That’s not to say that men don’t need to be loved (or that women don’t need to be respected), it speaks to the most fundamental of needs in a hierarchy of desires.

To make his point, the author references a recent US study where men were asked, ‘if forced to choose between one of the following, which would they prefer to endure?

  1. To be left alone and unloved in the world
  2. To feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone

74% of men said they’d prefer to be alone and unloved because option (b) was the greater negative experience for their souls.

Years ago we bought a box of dinner party conversation starters – a series of small cards with cleverly thought out questions; they’re heaps of fun.

We’ve found that the cards are a great way of creating conversations that go much deeper than, “so, how was your day?”. We are at the point now where we sometimes ‘go rogue’ and make up our own questions, often in conjunction with special events such as birthdays, anniversaries etc. Our kids love it and even make up their own questions to ask the family.

So this Father’s Day when the family are sitting around the meal table or just hanging out together, try asking some of these conversation starter questions that speak to this foundational need for respect. Choose from the following questions and ask each family member to respond:

  1. Name one thing you admire about Dad
  2. Name one thing that only Dad can do in our family
  3. What’s one thing that you know Dad doesn’t particularly like to do but consistently does for us every week?
  4. If a reporter called to say they were writing a story on your Dad and they wanted to know one of his greatest achievements, what would you tell them?
  5. What’s one great piece of advice you’ve received from Dad?
  6. Finish this sentence “My best memory of spending time with Dad was….”

A week later, if you were to ask your man what he remembers most about Father’s Day this year, I’d be very surprised if the respect and honour he receives from this exercise isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. My guess is, the physical presents – the ‘socks and jocks’, would rank a very distant second. Give it a try.