Whether it is a dad that has passed away, a strained relationship with a dad, a dad that is serving overseas, or a child that doesn’t know their dad, Father’s Day can sometimes be a bittersweet day for families. It is a gentle reminder that even though our relationships with our earthly dads might not be perfect, our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine. Ultimately, God wants restoration of relationships. We were encouraged to hear Alan Robertson’s story of reconciliation with his dad, Phil.
We sat down with oldest son of the Robertson brothers, Alan two years ago and talked about how his relationship with his dad was strained for some time and how it eventually was restored. He also shared about how they live out their faith on the show. It was the first interview granted after A&E lifted the suspension of the show’s patriarch, Phil Robertson for his controversial comments. Duck Dynasty has over 14 million viewers per episode and is A&E’s top-rated show and the most popular reality show on cable television.
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba’ Father So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:6-7
Alan opened up with us about how his relationship with his dad, Phil Robertson was difficult during his teenage years, but how God later restored their relationship.
“I think at the time I was like a lot of sullen, know-it-all teenagers. I thought I knew best…I was 10 years old when he became a Christian. So the first 10 years of my life he was not a Christian, so that was just hard. But you know what’s funny, and what I’ve seen in a lot of families since then, is that you will see a family go through a crisis or difficulty, and then they overcome it and then it’s almost like it shifts and something else happens to somebody else. It’s almost like it’s a show game of difficulty, and that exact thing happened to us, we were finally in a good place, and it shifted onto me, and I became that person-of-interest to the evil realm…I don’t know if I ever really talked to Dad [Willie Robertson] during that time and if I did, it was not much. Mom would check on me from time to time, because moms are just like that, and I was living with Dad’s sister.
I left when I was 17 and came back when I was 18, about a year-and-a-half later was when I became a Christian. About nine months after that, Lisa and I got married…So when I came home, Dad basically shared with me his story and then I was baptized in the river right by our house, by him. That was pretty neat that we could share that moment too.”
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” James 1:17-18
Alan shared about A&E’s decision to suspend his dad from the show, Duck Dynasty and how everyone is glad that he has returned as the patriarch.
“We’ve always known that ultimately we have similar goals in some regards [with A&E] and a lot of different goals in other regards, and their network answers to a lot of people and they are going to be a lot more politically correct than we are. But the good things about this is it is a reality show, so it’s us being real for who we are and ultimately I think that is what wins out. Obviously, we are glad that Dad is back on the show. We can’t see how we could have done it without him because he’s our patriarch, the head of the table, so I’m glad we were able to come back together with them to make it work…They [A&E] said from day one they knew that faith was going to be known as a part of the show because it was part of our lives and they’ve honored that. That is why the family prayer is always at the end of the show.”
Pray for your dad. Whether your dad is a Christian or does not know God yet, take time and pray for him. If your relationship is estranged or broken like Alan’s was, pray that God would bring healing and forgiveness. Allow the Holy Spirit to point out areas of your life that you might need to ask forgiveness for. Even if your father is not willing or able to meet, ask God to help you forgive him and do not allow bitterness to build up in your heart. Remember that God is our Heavenly Father and loves us very much.
Be a dad! Consider being a spiritual dad or mentor to a young person who does not have a positive role model in their life. From going to a baseball game to sharing how you live for Christ, think about the people that have had an impact on your life and how you can pour your life into someone else’s.
How does God want to use your family? While you may not have a reality TV show lined up like Duck Dynasty, God wants to use your family as a witness for Him. Your family does not have to be perfect to be used by God. Often times, God wants to use our brokenness, trials and challenges to encourage others. Take time and ask him if there is a younger couple or family that He would like you to mentor.