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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Making Father's Day Special!

FATHER’S DAY--                               SECOND CLASS PARENTING?

When you think of a single parent home, what do you think of?  

Most people I know immediately think of a single mom trying to make ends meet.  So common is that assumption that some divorce support materials I once perused had a special section addressing the importance of child support payments, and the wording was clear that the writers assumed it would be dads paying child support.  In other words, it assumed children always live with the mother after a divorce (which is not true of every culture, but is common).  Even the courts can get caught up in that bias.  I have known of areas where people who filed for divorce would choose the location to file based on the fact that one judge or the other automatically favors women in a divorce.

In the US, statistics have revealed that Mother’s Day is the time of year when flower sales hit record highs.  

Father’s Day may hit record highs, too, but I suspect the record would be the holiday most often remembered at the last minute!  The marketing for Father’s Day just isn’t the same…although the tool and grilling industries are working on it!  I bet every father who has ever received father’s day gifts has at least one tie they only wear in the presence of their children, because sometimes we fathers can be difficult to buy for.  But I would suggest that lots of fathers aren’t overly concerned about receiving gifts anyway.  Instead, the “gifts” of relaxation, appreciation or even a bit of recognition carry more sway.  

I was visiting with a young lady yesterday who told me she had completely forgotten Father’s Day was coming until someone reminded her a few days ago.  She talked about various things she had done in the past, and her uncertainty of what to get for her dad this year.  As we talked, I suggested that she might consider writing her dad a letter, and then she reminisced about making him cards in the past.  I could be wrong, but I suspect her dad still has all those cards somewhere (maybe out in the garage).  I also suggested she could buy him a steak!  That suggestion prompted her to say that she might make him a nice meal, which was an idea I also heartily supported.  

One of the best Father’s Days I ever had was one in which, as my daughter was far away, my son and I decided to just spend the day together at an amusement park.  Father’s Day gifts are special when they represent time together and the investing of oneself in the celebration, whether it is by making a meal, writing a note or making time to be together.  (Although I am a little partial to greeting cards with funny pictures of chimpanzees on them…)

Whether it is well recognized or not, fathers are important.  

Some individuals have tried to prove that children flourish regardless of their home circumstances, but when honest evaluations have been done, there always is a recognition that mothers AND fathers play significant and important roles in the lives of children, roles that are very different.  

Over the years I have known a number of children living with just their mothers, some of whose fathers  - have no contact with them -  and very often these children wish they had a dad in the house.  But as I observe them, I have often thought that their image of what a dad would be in that house is far different from what a dad really is like.  This became evident when watching these children talking to their mothers - thinking to myself, “Yeah, if I were your dad, I wouldn’t let you get away with talking that way to your mom.”  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am the first one to admit that there are plenty of lousy dads out there (and lousy mothers for that matter).  I’ve heard some pretty awful stories over the years, and I hate that some guys behave in such despicable ways that they tarnish the reputation of dads for everyone they meet.  But there are great dads, too.  I know that, because I had one myself, and I cherish all the years I got to spend with him.  Even if YOUR dad wasn’t perfect (none of us are, after all), I bet there were some pretty important life lessons you learned through him, anyway.  

It would be nice if there was an instruction manual of how to be the perfect dad.  

No, never mind, since it’s an instruction manual guys wouldn’t read it anyway, right?  

Still, it would be nice to have one, because being a good dad is a pretty tough job.  The only job that compares is being a good step-dad!  Nevertheless most guys I know who are dads, try pretty hard to be good ones.  So I want to encourage you to make Father’s Day special for your dad, if he’s still around.  Just find your own personal way to let him know of your love and appreciation for what he has done for you.  A lot of what dads do often goes unnoticed, so it can mean a lot to hear a simple thanks now and then, and Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to do just that.  Make the most of it.

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