Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fathers Day - more like Labor Day

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday and with it, sons and daughter will be searching for a present for dad, if he is lucky, or maybe a goofy father’s day card. I don’t need a new tie, and I have aftershave, so this is what I would like to receive from my kids; A card listing three things I am doing well in their lives, and three things I need to improve. No presents are necessary, although I would not turn down dinner at Vince’s if it were offered.

Here is the thing about Father’s Day; it should be a day to celebrate the meaning and importance of fatherhood. Being a father for your children is an occupation, not a title. Just as you would for your career, being a father is something you should work on continually. Improving your skills and capabilities, trying to become a little better every day. It's not easy, but nothing important ever is.

With all the broken homes, single mothers, and blended families out there today, the traditional role of a father seems to be more of the exception rather than the rule. Many stepfathers I know are more of a father to their stepchildren than their biological one ever was. No matter what your situation, here is the deal; if have a child, you have a job. Some days it is frustrating, patience-testing, nerve-rattling, thankless, hard work. Some days it consumes your every waking thought, and some days it’s just being there for them.

I love my job as a father, I really do. Not that my children are perfect, they are not. Not that I am some super-dad who always gets it right, I don’t. We still struggle through the tough times, disappointments, report cards, messy rooms and theatrics. However, as a father, I would not trade one hundred tough days for one fewer of the "great days." The great days are the ones that will stay with you forever. If you haven’t had one in a while, try to catch your children doing something right. It’s amazing how just appreciating them, and loving them for who they are, can turn an ordinary day into a great day.

As fathers, whenever we get together, we complain about how much money we spend on our kids. All kidding aside, for all the money we spend on our children, the one currency we may not be as generous with is our time. When your child grows up, they will probably forget all the hi-tech gadgets you bought them, the latest fashions they no longer wear, but they may want to know why you didn’t spend more time with them. As a father, that question hurts, and it should.

Spending time with your children is critical. If you have crazy hours, or a career that takes you away from home; when you are with your children, be fully there. Live in that moment. Listening to what they have to say, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense, it lets them know they are important. If you don’t give them your full attention when you are together, believe me, they will get your attention in other less desirable ways.

So this Sunday, I hope you get to spend some time with your children. Accept any present, eat any breakfast they fix, even if it's awful. Besides, who doesn't need a "World's greatest Dad" coffee mug? I hope you have a happy Father's Day, but I really hope you have one of those great days.

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