I was up early today, fumbling around the coffee maker and trying to make as little noise as possible to keep from waking Sharon, Tazzy and our weekend house guest, a border collie who answers to Colt. One of our favorite eateries, First Watch, is celebrating Father’s Day by offering all the bacon a dad can eat and we will need to be early. I am guessing that free bacon will draw more than a few dads to the table! We all have fathers, evidenced by our very existence, and dads, for the most part, are influential in ways we don’t often give conscious thought to. I lost my father at a relatively young age yet still am influenced by his presence and wisdom, albeit from the grave these days. What is this magic that surrounds fathers? Let’s have a look.
Dads bring a unique perspective to their children, shaped by their presence from birth to today in their world. They watch us grow up, smiling at our successes and sorrowing at our failures. How they respond to their children is shaped by a special understanding of what makes their children what they are. Dads tend to want greater success for us than they, themselves, enjoyed in life. As dads age, we tend to measure our success by the success of our kids, smiling broadly when they push through a challenge and standing by to help manage failure.
Dads bring worldly experience to the table. An old Zone Sergeant, Bob Plymell, was fond of saying that “Bought’n learning is the best learning of all”. He, of course, was speaking of experience. Dad’s have been there before us and can bring much wisdom to the situation at hand. To be sure, our dad’s may not bring the technical know how to the table, but they can be counted on to understand the impact of our decisions on our future and as they relate to those around us.
Fathers can be counted upon to bring candor into our lives. They are not influenced by the delicate dance of pretentiousness that permeates our lives these days. Political correctness is refreshingly absent when we seek their advice and perspective. Their motivations, again, are centered around their children’s success and the avoidance of failure. When the inevitable failure occurs, they will be the first to strip the sugar coating from the matter at hand, and yet see the silver lining in the failure. They do this with not so much as a hint of Pollyanna in their counsel. How good is that?
Fathers are professional mentors. It is interesting that most mentoring failures are the result of the child’s rejection of the advice and direction provided by dad. Equally interesting is that when these failures occur, dads will be there to pick up the pieces. (We recognize the maddening, stubborn nature of our children is the result of heredity!). Dads have a very deep appreciation for the motivations of people, as mentoring often involves the dispensing of advice and counsel relative to the people in their children’s lives. Some of us are especially fortunate to assume the mentoring role to children that have followed us professionally in their chosen career. Mentors have a way of selling the unvarnished truth to our charges. A primary obligation of a father is to insure the phrase “I wish that I would not have done that” is a seldom used concept in our children’s lives. Dads are professional managers of regret!
If you are still able to enjoy the presence of your father in your life, do yourself a favor and take advantage of what he can bring to the table. All he will ask in return is a simple thank you now and again. Dads love the occasional phone call asking about some aspect of life and are willing to immediately make your problem their problem. My heart goes out to those who have lost their father or, perhaps, have never known their father from the beginning. To those dads that are perusing my thoughts, thanks for pursuing the awesome responsibility that fathering brings. Unlike many things in life, being a dad is not a temporary gig!
Happy Father’s Day! I hear rashers of bacon calling………….