Father’s day is not a day about dad. On the outside, many think that it is, but actually it is a day about being a dad. As I start this, my 9th Father’s Day, I wanted to share a few reflections. They are not reflections of a father looking back over his life as I may do 30 or 40 years from now, but simply reflections from the best nine years of my life.
- Remember the sound – Having small children (9, 5, 3) I still am faced with a problem that doesn’t face the father of teens. My children wake up early, and often times, before mom and dad are ready to wake up. That sound however is one that I am most fond of, little clumsy feet pounding on the carpet like an old typewriter as they run to wake you up and say hello for another day. It is a sound like nothing on earth, and one that I already do not hear from my nine year old. No matter how tired, that sound is priceless, as is the smile that usually accompanies it.
- Failure is ok – We all want what is best for our children, but sometimes, allowing them to fail, while for the better is hard to do. We have the answers and parents, just as our parents did before us. Try to remember that our parents let us climb that tree and jump/fall out, our parents let us skateboard down that giant hill, our parents let us learn by our experiences. All too often we want to catch them when they fall, but our role is to be there for them after they stand up. It isn’t easy, but it is vital.
- We cannot want it more than they do – I am talking to the sports dads out there on this one. I often let my child know that I was a really crummy athlete when I was his age. That is usually after I have tried to pass on some sage advice to him as to how to do better at sport. What we always have to remember is no matter how good their old man looked on the court, they get to play the game now. They need to play the game because they love it, not because we want them to love it. Every child will learn to compete at their own rate, we cannot want it more than they do.
- Let them be little – I don’t remember the last time that I held my moms hand. Somewhere in the last 30+ years, I just stopped doing it. Someday, my boys will stop holding my hand too. But until then, we I get the opportunity to hold their hand while we walk, walk slow and proud.
- Show them how much you love mom – Your relationship with their mother, is where they will learn how to treat women. As a father, it is our job to Model the Way for them. We want them to grow up and have a healthy, positive relationship, then we must show them what a healthy, positive relationship looks like.
As a young father, I don’t have all of the pearls of wisdom just yet. I would have to ask my own father for those. He taught me my core values by showing me how to treat others. The best gift that I can give him on this Father’s Day is to love my children as he loved me, to laugh with my children as he laughed with me, and support my children as he always supported me.