Preparing for Fathers’ Day means selecting the card, buying the trinket and getting mentally prepared. I can’t help you with the first two, but here’s a guest blog by Rick Martinez to help you with the third.
When a Child is Born, A Father is Also Born!
Fathers Day is here…again.
On the third Sunday of June in the U.S., we celebrate the importance of fathers, grandfathers, and other male relatives who have been important in our lives.
Although a relatively modern holiday (first celebrated in America in 1910), it has nonetheless spread to many other countries in the world.
For those who respect, admire and love the men in their family, it is a day to honor and recognize them with at least a card, maybe one of summer’s first barbecues and the traditional gift of yet another tie. For those who have an ambivalent or strained relationship with their dad, it’s sometimes a painful reminder of what could have been — a time, if male, to resolve to do better. And, if female, to choose better.
A man can be a good father in many different ways. There is no rulebook for how best to provide love, financial support, and physical and emotional wellness and security for one’s family—especially children. However a man goes about it, it’s true that being a good father is not easy. It requires a man to take his responsibilities to the children seriously and consistently. He is, after all, modeling for his boys what they are expected to become, and modeling for his girls what they can expect in a future lifelong, marital partner.
Here’s what another take on makes for effective fathering?
Children need constancy, a father who is a constant figure and in their lives. They don’t really need special adventures, events, and expensive presents. What they do need is time hanging out with their dad. They need casual contact around meals, household chores, and running errands: Responsibility, accountability and reward. They need the kind of talk that happens while riding in the car or while cleaning out the garage…together.
As nice as it is to spend two weeks in the summer at a dude ranch or to go for a ski weekend over the winter holidays with dad, bumping into each other at home several times a week or day is far more valuable. When children interact positively with their father regularly and often in daily life, the relationship has a chance to be deeper and more meaningful.
Children need care, fathers who are concerned and who show it. Care means love. Loving care includes hugs and pats on the back and compliments and, yes, actually saying “I love you” when the sentiment arises. Yet, care also means taking care, as in protecting from harm; as in seeing that bath times happen, that kids eat their vegetables and get bedtime stories; as in attending teacher conferences and going to a kid’s special events. Care also means taking financial responsibility and doing one’s share to make a safe and secure home. Most important, care means providing a positive role model for what it means to be simply a “good man.”
And children need courage. They need to grow up observing a father who has the courage to do the right thing, even when it has personal costs. They need to see a father figure having the courage to take his responsibilities seriously–even when he’d rather not. They need him to demonstrate the courage to be vulnerable and tender, as well as strong and in control. Children need a father with the courage to be their dad regardless of how angry he may be with their mother, regardless of how disappointed he may be with his own choices, regardless of how successful and interested he is in other realms of his life.
Yes, living up to these three simple yet profound mandates is a rather tall order. Good dads and male relatives have been doing it one way or another for generations. When a man joins in this long tradition of loving and responsible fathering, children develop the positive self-image and emotional wellness they need to be successful adults. Home is their foundation. They recall a refrigerator of plenty. Mom will always be their angel. Their mirror, dad.
This definitely deserves a Father’s Day card–and yes, maybe another new tie.