It was the day of my graduation from high school, and my dad attended as a parent speaker. Looking at me as he spoke to the graduates, my dad said, “We haven’t come to celebrate your achievements, we’ve come to celebrate who you are.” I have never forgotten those words; I felt so special with my dad always, and especially in that moment.
My dad really loved all three of his children unconditionally; he believed in us just the way we were when we were growing up. He believed there was nothing we could not do. He supported our every effort and every dream. He would never say, “I’m the parent. I’m in charge here.” He was more like: “What can I do to help you be the best you can be?”
I remember my Dad held the back of my bike when I tried to ride; he applied cream to my wounds; he helped me with homework. There were a million other things that made me realize he knew me so well……. And that made him my dad!
My dad knew each of his three children individually. Coming home from work he would tiptoe around my sleeping sister; even though he was exhausted from work. He was thinking only of her in that moment. That is a father….. a man who loves his children unconditionally and meets their every waking (and sleeping) need. My sister’s voice still echoes in my ears. “Dad, you’re the kind of man I want to marry; you still kiss mom, even though you’ve been married forever!”
Now I am forty with two children and I realize how important it is for me to be there for my little ones whenever they need me. My daughter sees me as a shield, protecting her from any harm that might be caused physically, verbally, emotionally or spiritually.
When I hear children at Kids Kottage say their dad plays and laughs with them or tells them stories at bedtime or helps them do homework, it gives me pleasure knowing their future will be bright. Even the social science research has shown that when children have engaged dads, they benefit from that relationship for a lifetime. Dads’ engagement with their children’s activities brings more emotional security, confidence in new situations and a higher level of academic performance.
Being a father is a real challenge for a man. It’s not an easy job. Living a life of integrity, fulfilling your family’s needs and setting the best examples for your children is not a cake walk.
And so Father’s Day should not be a Hallmark occasion just to sell cards. It’s a very special day set apart for the admiration of one’s father. Let us thank dads everywhere for their sacrifices, their commitment, their perseverance and let them know their children’s love is the most memorable and important thing.