Today is Father’s Day. For some it’s a time to buy their dad a present, for some a time to take their dad out for dinner, while others (like myself) it’s a time to remember and honor their father’s memory.
My Dad was a member of what Tom Brokaw called The Greatest Generation, a retired army veteran who fought in the South Pacific in World War II. I’m proud that he was one of those that help defend this country during one of America’s darkest hours.
However, Father’s Day is so much more than what a father did for a career. It’s about the moments shared with children. It’s about the little things they did. The laughs, the embraces, the smiles; Daddy had away of just making people feel right at home. And Father’s day is about the life that makes that person special.
Parents are the earliest and most influential examples to children of what it means to be an adult. When I was a boy, I was sometimes embarrassed by my Dad’s struggles with alcohol. It wasn’t till years later that I came to understand some of the compelling forces that probably contributed to his addiction.
He was the ninth of 13 children who lost his mother at age 3 and his father at 16. He joined the army at 17 and later fought in WWII . Those terrible combat scenes haunted him till the day he died. His handicap though didn’t stop him from loving his children.
I remember when I was trying to earn money with a paper route, that I came home one day from school and he had bought me a brand new bike. Then on Sunday morning, he got up before dawn and went with me to help deliver my newspapers.
That bicycle was a special memory because he never had much to share in the way of material things. Nevertheless I learned from him that more than material things, love is expressed through time and sacrifice. That is a lesson as a Dad, I’ve tried to practice with my own sons.
I remember losing a football game once and it was Dad that I looked to for consolation. That was another lesson I remembered later in life as I followed my boys through little league and high school sports. Every practice, every game I was doing for my boys what I had expected of my Dad.
Children look up to their fathers for many things. Daughters and sons alike thrive on the approval they wish to receive from their father. You might see athletes on TV saying “Hi Mom” to the camera but don’t be fooled, they may want mom’s attention but it’s dad’s approval they seek.
I realize that now and so much more. There’s nothing like being able to look at life through the prism of experience. As I have gotten older that prism has allowed me to see more of my father in me than I ever thought to be.
Country music song writer Paul Overstreet put it this way:
“I’m seeing my father in me
I guess that’s the way it’s meant to be
And I find I’m more and more like him each day
I notice I walk the way he walked
I notice I talk the way he talked
I’m starting to see my father in me
And I’m happy to see my father in me”
Thanks Dad and …
Happy Father’s Day.