You learn a lot about how to navigate the ups and downs of life by watching your parents. I know I did.
The people in charge of raising us, for better or worse, are the people who have the first opportunity at influencing us. Even when we begin to think we have life figured out for ourselves, we may still think back to something that one of our parents did or said and think to ourselves, “I wonder how they did that?” “I wonder how they knew that?” Or perhaps your parents weren’t so wonderful and you might be thinking, “I wish they hadn’t done that.”
With today being Father’s Day, the subject of today’s post is Dads. Of course Moms are equally important, (God knows what we would do without them!) and my Mom taught me some important lessons about life, but today is just about the guys.
So let’s get right to it.
If your Dad is still with you (mine is!), then I hope you have a wonderful day hanging out with him and making him feel special. If your Dad is not with you today (sadly my son’s is not), then I am very sorry for your loss. From what my son tells me, there is always a mix of emotions concerning his Dad’s absence on a day like today, feelings that are loving and sad and hurtful and should be talked about as honestly as possible.
Dads are usually a child’s first experience with learning the male way of handling life and boys especially need that guidance from their Dads about how a man makes his way in the world. I try to emphasize with my son the deep love his Dad felt for him because that is truly a gift to know that your Dad loved you no matter what and thought you were the most fantastic person he ever laid eyes on.
Dads have their own unique way of doing things and I think children figure out very early that there are big differences in Dad’s way and Mom’s way. For instance, as a child, I could see that my Dad’s way of doing things around the house got the job done but his way was also veeeerrrrrrrry different from the way my Mom would do something. Not always better. Just different.
Like letting us put our breakfast cereal in a glass so we could drink it. Or letting us sleep on top of the bedspreads because that made things easier in the morning, right? In general, Dad just gave us a lot more room to navigate but there was no doubt that if the navigation went the wrong way that there would be consequences.
I think we all remember the times when we would see or hear something that our Dads did that we knew was unique to him. Perhaps it was something that he did that made you feel warm inside and really happy that he is your Dad. Or maybe it was something that made you laugh.
Whether you liked what he did or thought it was the right thing to do was for me beside the point because Dads are also great people to poke fun at. As teenagers, my friends and I just had to imitate our Dads when they weren’t around because some of the stuff they would say was just sooooo serious or soooooo ridiculous. Or so we thought at the time. One of the things I always used to imitate was my Dad’s way of telling me I was on my own in figuring out some trouble I had gotten into. I liked to lower my voice and look intently at one of my friends and say, “You know, I’m not like your Mother. I’m not going to pull your chestnuts out of the fire for you. You got yourself into this young lady and you better figure out how to get out of it.” I know it wasn’t funny but I couldn’t help but be amused by the dramatic way my Dad would say this to me.
And then there are the things your Dad did that you wanted to keep for yourself. That thing you admired. My Dad is an extremely generous person and he liked to say that it’s important to remember that “You can’t take it with you so do something good with your money while you can.” Or you might have decided that you were going to do something exactly the way you Dad did because you liked the way he did it and it felt right and you wanted to follow his lead.
But then there are those times (Oh yes we all know that there are!) when your Dad did something that you couldn’t stand. Something annoying and even childish. You might even say to yourself that you wanted to remember what he did because you definitely did not want to do the same thing when you became a parent.
Like losing his temper and cussing at someone. Or drinking too much and acting foolish. Or making bad health decisions.
Yes those are times that you see the other side of your Dad and hopefully you say “He’s just human and we all make mistakes.”
And then you carry on.
Whether you grew up with a loving father or a hard charging father, every parent is human. Despite their best intentions, all men make mistakes and so do their children. So it’s wise to get rid of the baggage and keep the good stuff in your heart. It’s important to keep the faith and persevere.
Even if they are no longer here, they still have a major effect on your life.
Happy Father’s Day!