What comes to mind when you hear the word “father”? It could evoke a variety of thoughts and emotions depending on your own personal situation and experiences. The experiences and opinions of those around you have an impact too. As much as I like to bemoan the fact that Mother’s Day buries Father’s Day in time, money, and attention given to it; there are some understandable reasons why that’s the case.
Reality and perception both serve to complicate things. It is a reality that in general dads are not always as hands-on and nurturing as moms (thus the term “motherly”). If one parent were to be distant or disconnected, statistically speaking it would more often than not be the father. And for some reason, the term “deadbeat” is usually only associated with the male side of parenthood.
The typical dad as portrayed by the typical TV show or movie is someone who is pretty much clueless about everything, sits around in his underwear all day, can’t show any real love or emotions, and either doesn’t know how to do anything around the house or is just too lazy to help out. It’s understandable then why moms get jewelry and spa days when presents are handed out, and dads get socks.
A dad can take his son back and forth to football practice day after day for years, travel to all his games, constantly work with him in the backyard helping to hone the necessary skills, and be his biggest supporter. Then when he scores the game-winning touchdown in the biggest game of his life, he’ll look up in the stands to where his parents are sitting and yell, “I love you mom!” Such is life even for the good ones.
But there are other realities and other perceptions too. There are a lot of dads who are just plain awesome—dads whose adult children are still convinced that he hung the moon! Dads who teach their sons to be gentlemen and their daughters to be ladies. Dads who listen. Dads who kiss the booboo to make it feel better. Dads who get on the floor and play with you. Dads who hold you and tell you they love you. Dads who dance with you. Dads who cook your favorite meals. Dads who encourage you. Dads who give sound advice. Dads who are proud of their sons. Dads who clean their guns in front of your boyfriend. Dads who are there when you need them. Dads who pray. Dads who try hard. Dads who do their best. Dads who aren’t perfect but who want to make things right if somehow they’ve gone wrong.
So how do you feel about your father? What kind of relationship do you have with him? Father’s Day is the perfect time to revisit that topic. My mom lost her dad in a car accident when she was 16 and misses him daily. My father is alive and doing well, but I still long for a deeper more meaningful relationship. Every situation is different. I’m trying hard to be a good father to my own children right now and making plenty of mistakes along the way.
Don’t let this Father’s Day come and go without reaching out to your dad to let him know you’re thinking about him and that you love him. Go see him if you can and give him a hug. Tell him in a prayer if he’s no longer here. Forgive him if you must. And if you are a dad yourself, never underestimate the incredible impact you have on your children. What a privilege. Happy Fathers Day to all dads everywhere!