Being a dad has been the biggest responsibility I have ever had. After all, bringing a new life into the world and literally trying your best to help make that person the best kind of person they can be and fulfill their life’s real potential doesn’t weigh easy on anyone.
I sometimes get a bit misty eyed when I think about my two kids and I always miss seeing them when they aren’t right here with me. I think we all feel that way because after all they are so very important to us.
So a couple of years ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Father’s Day and it really came from my heart. I think the message in it says what every dad (and mom too) thinks and feels about a day like this. Even though the environment we live in makes us feel like honoring our dads and moms is all about buying gifts and making a big deal out of just the one single day a year, I can tell you from personal experience, that’s not what dads (and moms) really want from their kids.
I hope you won’t mind if I repeat my real feelings today about Father’s Day, in anticipation of Sunday, June 17, 2018. I am republishing that old post so if you didn’t see it then, I hope you will read it now. I also hope that it says what you are feeling the same way it does for me. Here’s hoping all the “kids” of any age out there read and get the message I am conveying. Have a great Father’s Day and make it last all year long!
It’s just around the corner: another Father’s Day arrives on Sunday, June 17th. If you’re like most people, you’ve already begun thinking about what you’re looking to give your dad this year—checking the Sunday papers, looking online, and talking to your mom and your siblings about what dad really wants this year.
I’m a dad of two (they’re grown now and out on their own) and I’m sure they are thinking those same thoughts and hoping to surprise me with something I’m just dying for but would never go out and buy for myself. That’s probably how they think.
Would it shock you to learn that Dad doesn’t always want or need the kinds of things that you have in mind for him? Despite the fashion trends and the fact that you have or want that thing you’re going to buy for him, he may not. I bet it would surprise you to learn that he doesn’t really want “a thing” at all. Most dads will tell you, if you ask them, “don’t make this a big deal, I don’t need that kind of stuff from you. Here’s what I would love to have happen for Father’s Day.” And, yes, they would really mean it.
As a dad, I can tell you that the last thing I want my kids to do is to spend lots of money on material gifts and blow their finances out of the water. I’m certain that they need things more than dear old dad. Believe me when I say that I have enough of almost anything that you can think of, from T-shirts to books, from ties to tools, and everything in between. I have been collecting “things” like that all my life and honestly, other than better health there’s not much I want for myself.
Looking back over the years, my very best father’s day gifts have always been the things my kids made with love for me while in school which both myself and my kids are most proud of. To prove it, I still have that clay ashtray that my daughter made me in 3rd grade somewhere around here. Even though I have never smoked, it really was a treasure to get.
And you know something else? Those fancy $6.99 cards might impress some, but the truth is the handmade ones my kids used to make meant a whole hell of a lot more to me. So here’s hoping that I don’t get any of those expensive ones this time. I’d love it if I received a note from each of them sharing their feelings and that they keep their hard-earned money for themselves. Whatever they might spend on a gift for me won’t make me feel as good as a sincere hug or kiss will do, that’s for sure.
In fact, I can think of a whole list of things that would make Father’s Day most special. I think most Dads would say those kind of things are the most important things if they were asked about it. So just in case you weren’t sure or you don’t have the gumption to ask your dad in advance, let me fill you in about Father’s Day from my very own “father” perspective.
1. I value family time more than anything
The truth is that seeing the kids, no matter what their ages, is the biggest kick you can give me for the day. If and when there are grandkids involved, that’s even better. I’d much rather spend that time with you all than get tickets to a show or some kind of fancy watch. If I need a watch, I can pick one out myself.
2. Please don’t surprise me
You know me well enough by now to know I hate surprises. If you have something in mind just ask me about it first please. If I am surprised, of course I’ll be thankful, but in my soul I’ll be thinking, “I really wished you would have asked me about it first!”
3. I am a very practical guy
You know what I really need? New underwear and a nice pair of casual socks. Please don’t buy me some new expensive electronic gizmo. I have trouble with the remote control for the TV and I just have gotten the hang of my smartphone. I don’t need more expensive technology in my life. Somehow I got here without most of it and besides, if I need anything like that, your mom will tell me what to do.
4. Talk to me regularly
Call me more often or even better, drop by for no reason at all. That’s what makes me happy. Hey, I know you’re busy and have lots on your plate, but you are so important to me and I need that regular connection and update of knowing you’re doing ok. Some fancy gift doesn’t tell me what’s in your head. If you do something great in school or at work, I’ll be a very proud Dad. In any event, talk to me, acknowledge me or call me. That’s a great way to make me feel connected and acknowledges my importance to you much more than a fancy tie does.
5. You will always be my child
Getting gifts and making a fuss over me seems like it’s a little out of place. You see, no matter how big you get, you will always be my child and in my head that means I take care of and cater to you. It makes me feel good to do that, so let me be the one who does that, ok? As crazy as that may seem, it’s the way I really want to feel.
6. Father’s Day should be every day
When you leave on June 17th, Father’s Day doesn’t end. I am your dad every day of the year and if you want or need my advice, opinions or even a sounding board, I’m here for you always. I mean that.
Someone once told me that Father’s Day is the most important day of the year. I think it was my father who said that (chuckle) and of course he was right! Whether it is or isn’t. I certainly hope that it will be a special day for all of you and the kind of day when you get the chance to feel connected to your kids or your dad in a way that will make it a really special event.
What are you plans on June 17th to celebrate? Do you get overwhelmed with all the fuss, gifts, and hoopla on Father’s Day? Or are you having that special day that you truly pine for? I’d love to hear about your plans and what Father’s Day means for you.
Originally published June 3, 2016