Thanks, Dads!

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I don’t know what you and your family like to do for Father’s Day, but I’m betting this weekend is one where quite a few families put burgers, brats, or steaks on the grill. Most dads enjoy grilling, so they don’t mind being involved in doing some of the food prep—even though it’s their big day.

I hope Sunday is a meaningful day, whether you are able to celebrate Father’s Day with the father figure in your life or you are the dad that is being celebrated. For years, I have been frustrated by the way that dads are portrayed in popular media and the news. I believe that dads are an important part of families, neighborhoods, and societies in general. Because of how important a dad’s role is, I hate seeing portrayals of absentee, distracted, or clueless dads.

At the same time, I know that not everybody has or had a dad who played a positive role in their lives. Many of us have the experience of being hurt, let down, or abused by our dads. Others have the experience of being abandoned or rejected by their dads. Others grew up in homes where the entire mood was dictated by whether their dad had a good or bad day.

If that was your experience, then I want to encourage you to do the same thing that I’ve worked to do: Take the example of fatherhood that I received and improve on it when it came to parenting my own children. If you see some of your own experience reflected in the previous paragraph, then I want to challenge you to work to do the same thing I’m trying to do. If your example of a father was a positive, encouraging, and loving one, then I’d encourage you to do your best to build on that example too! Let’s all work to give our kids the best version of a dad that we possibly can.

I’ve noticed a trend in my Mother’s Day and Father’s Day articles, and maybe you’ve noticed it as well. I feel like my Mother’s Day articles are typically geared toward thanking moms, while my Father’s Day articles are typically geared toward challenging dads to keep going and dig deeper. I know it’s because I’m a dad myself, so I can speak to and challenge my fellow dads. However, I want to end this article by switching gears and spending some time saying, “Thanks!”

Dads, thank you for the ways that you engage with your kids and encourage their adventurous side. Thanks for pushing them to try new and hard things. Thanks for teaching your kids about fixing things, changing tires, washing cars, throwing, catching, and a whole bunch of other things. Thank you for using those real-life lessons to help your kids see the value of sticking to what they started, pushing through failures, and putting time and effort into the things that they care about.

Those lessons will have long-lasting effects for your kids in their work, relationships, families, and legacies. Thanks to all of the dads who support, love, encourage, teach, and inspire their kids to grow and try, even if it means failing. Taking the time to invest in your kids and grandkids in these ways will have more of an impact than you may ever know. When you’re doing that, you’re ensuring that you and your kids are winning more often at home!