With Father’s Day fast approaching I thought I would share a few thoughts on Fatherhood. Unlike my post on motherhood I can make no special claim of being an expert on fatherhood despite being a father myself. I will, however, try my best. To begin, I want to share with you my findings (after much in-depth research of course) on the history of Father’s Day.
Father’s Day was created sometime in the past in order to help out those in the necktie/wallet industry who needed to find a way to boost their revenue in order to remain in business. The celebration has expanded over the years to include honoring ordinary fathers as well as famous fathers throughout history, such as:
- Father Time – The scythe-wielding, time-piece-holding, grey-beard-wearing father of us all. Interestingly, Father Time can also be a real mutha.
- John McCain – One of the founding fathers of the United States of America
- Robert Young – He knew best
Of course being a father means much more than wearing a tie, telling time and knowing best even when we know nothing at all about a subject. It also means teaching our children many valuable lessons that only a father can teach. Sometimes, however, these lessons are so subtle that they often go unnoticed:
- Fathers tend to be seen as lazy. This is due to the fact that they have the tendency to fall asleep the second they sit down regardless of where they may be sitting. However, this is not laziness but instead is the father, without fear of embarrassing himself while snoring during church, a wedding, etc, setting an example of how easy it is to fall asleep when it is nap or bed time.
- Fathers have been perceived to be in a constant rush to get where are they going (particularly during vacations). It may appear that fathers do this for no other reason than the fact that they have set a schedule and will stick to it even if it means they are the only person left in the car at the end of the trip because all others were left behind at various scenic viewpoints due to looking at the view for 3 seconds rather than the allotted 2 1/2, but this is not the case. There are, in fact, two very good reasons why fathers do this: 1) It instills a fear of being late (and scenic viewpoints) in his children and 2) If they don’t stop moving they will fall asleep
- Fathers have also been accused of not listening well, particularly when their wife is speaking. This also is not true. Fathers hear everything that is being said but pretend not to hear their wife ask them to take out the garbage for the 100th time in two days so that his children will learn that if they don’t listen to their mother they too may end up with a garbage sack dumped out on their head.
Despite the fact that a father’s subtle lessons are often lost on their children we still manage to impart wisdom through our actions. As I wrote in a previous post I have thus far managed to teach my two boys that the best way to complete home repairs is to call a qualified repairman or, as a last resort, yell and complain at the object I am fixing until the repair has been completed or my wife has grown tired of hearing me whine and calls a repairman to make it stop; whichever comes first. I’ve also attempted to impart to them a sense of respect for all life by teaching them not to squash the bugs that we come across in the house and have demonstrated that we can, instead, capture them and release them outside (fortunately they were at their grandparents house when I was forced to call in exterminators to get rid of the ants after I inadvertently drank some one morning). Most importantly, though, I’ve tried to demonstrate to my two sons the importance of having a sense of humor (a lesson I learned from my dad). I’ve found the most effective way to impart this lesson is through my yearly optimism that the Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl. While the Chicago Bears’s chances of winning the Super Bowl are indeed laughable at times, the way a father really shows their child how much they love them isn’t (usually anyway).
By changing diapers; by working at jobs that they don’t particularly like because they pay well enough to support a family; by sitting by their sick child’s bed all night; by including their child in activities that they enjoy; by including themselves in activities that their child enjoys; by teaching their child how to drive a car and change a tire, fathers throughout time and across the world have shown their love for their children by doing all of these things and much more (unless the aforementioned activities would have interfered with the vacation schedule) and for this, I’m sure you would agree, they deserve nothing less than a tie and/or wallet this Father’s Day.
On a personal note, I’d like to say that I’m thankful to have learned these and many more valuable lessons from two great men I’ve been fortunate enough to have in my life: my father and father-in-law. If I’m able to impart to my sons even a fraction of what these two fathers have shown me about the meaning of fatherhood I will consider my fatherhood a success.