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On Father’s Day

Father’s Day means something different when you’re a father. You learn to view your own father(s) through a different lens. After all, parenthood and marriage change us, and how we react to such changes has a profound impact on everyone within the nuclear family. Most would agree that to sire children is the easy part, but it doesn’t make one a father. You have to earn that part through presence and perseverance.

My bride points out that Mother’s Day is not for the person who is the mother, but for that person’s mother. It surely applies to fathers as well. When you’re a parent, it never should be about you, only those you care for and protect. Nobody said it would be easy, let alone about us. It’s never really been about us anyway. Parenthood teaches this more than anything. Living for others makes us good humans, not just good parents, don’t you think?

My own fathers, and I count two as fathers, weren’t fully ready for the role but did the best they could with the opportunity. I try to honor the best in both of them in my interactions with others, especially my own children. You become aware that many don’t rise to meet the role, and appreciate those who do. The ego truly is the enemy when it comes to being a great father. You know one when you meet one, and do what you can to be one.

Father’s Day means something entirely different when your father slips away from you. Dementia, death, obligation or indifference are all forms of slipping away. Eventually something pulls our fathers away from us. Once you’ve experienced this, being fully present with our fathers while we have the opportunity seems the only way to truly honor and thank them for being a part of our lives.

Happy Father’s Day.

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