“Life doesn’t come with an instruction book – that’s why we have fathers” — H. Jackson Browne
Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, is a day that needs to be celebrated. We need to honor those parents who loved, raised, nurtured, disciplined, and supported us. It is meant for those who took on the responsibility and duty to raise the next generation to be honest and productive. Father’s Day is not for the feckless men who biologically produce offspring and then abandon the children they helped create.
It is a day for men who aided their wives in the delivery of their children, (when not away serving our country or communities). The day shows the respect for men who helped feed, change and guided their infants into toddlerhood. These good dads then helped with potty training, bike riding, braiding pig tails, throwing footballs, baseballs, basketballs, tennis balls, Frisbees, fishing, camping and any other thing boys and girls require. Teaching youngsters board and card games helps learning numbers and letters.
Father’s Day recognizes the sacrifices dads make in their efforts to give their children a better life than they, themselves have. Many dads help coach soccer, baseball, football, basketball or other sports or regularly attend their kid’s games. They help with homework, and attend parent/teacher meetings. A good father will monitor his sons and daughters grades. When needed, the good dad will discipline the child.
As the children grow into adolescence, the real work begins. Even the best fathers occasionally will lose a teenager to “peer pressure” and/or drugs, but the good father never gives up. Husbands and wives will sometimes not be able to reconcile their differences. Divorce is devastating to kids and the good father will continue his parental duties as best he can. He will not disparage the ex-wife in front of his children. There is nothing worse than having the kids choose between one parent or the other.
Good fathers provide stability, structure and discipline to their offspring. No one, particularly youngsters, can learn self discipline without those things. Statistics are replete with the deleterious effects on children raised without fathers. It is not impossible to raise honest, productive children in a fatherless environment, it is just that the odds against it are much greater.
Every day I thank God for my Dad. He worked two jobs so that my sisters and I could go to parochial school. As a result, he wasn’t home as much as other fathers, but his presence was always felt.
Along with my mother, their sense of family, honesty, religion and country, that they learned from their parents, were passed down to my sisters and me. My Dad had been an army ranger in the South Pacific in WWII. He worked the Gangster Squad and Organized Crime almost his whole career on LAPD.
Since my first memories, he had been my hero and when he passed away in 1987, I was heartbroken. Who could I ask about some of life’s dilemmas? Almost immediately the thought struck me, my Dad’s not really gone. He left his legacy in me. I realized that when I came to a situation that required a difficult decision, all I had to do was to ask myself, “What would my Dad do?” Invariably, that was the right answer.
The true measure of a father can be seen in the kind of adults his children have grown to be. As a grandfather, observing my two grown sons, it is hard to exaggerate how proud I am of my boys. Richard and Matthew are hardworking, loving husbands and fathers. They have both married intelligent, beautiful, supportive wives, who are excellent mothers to their children. It is with the utmost sincerity that my wife, Judi and I, wish Rich and Matt, the happiest Father’s Day.
And to all of the other Dads, have a very Happy Father’s Day.