“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers – and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” — David M. Gottesman
“A father is a banker provided by nature.” — French Proverb
“The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, ‘Daddy, I need to ask you something,’ he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.” — Garrison Keillor
“When I was a kid, I said to my father one afternoon, ‘Daddy, will you take me to the zoo?’ He answered, ‘If the zoo wants you, let them come and get you.’” — Jerry Lewis
I read a report recently that most people treat Father’s Day like an afterthought. That is such a shame. Some even joke on how kids like Father’s day better than Mother’s day because they don’t have to spend as much money. To all the fathers out there, this is for you.
Like so many men of his time, my father joined the military at a young age. He was a career man, retiring in 1973. During those years, I think I have counted over a dozen schools I attended. There were two years when my father was transferred 3 times. During some of those years, I can recall him taking on one, even two extra jobs to help our family of 4 children make ends meet. I know it was not a fun time for him. There are many times I am sure he would have rather been doing something else. But one of the things I can recall quite clearly is my father working on our family cars. His father taught him at an early age how cars worked, drilling the steps of engine operation into him. My father could fix almost anything. Oil changes? You’d better believe he did them. Engine sputtering? He was under the hood changing the spark plugs.
These days my father is the master of the grill. If it can be seared, put on a rotisserie, or smoked, he can make it taste like something from a 5-star restaurant. He leaves most of the car work to others as age and health have pretty much made that hobby out of the question. It doesn’t mean he still doesn’t ask about our cars or the grandchildren’s cars.
Here’s a typical phone conversation for most fathers:
Child: Hi Dad!
Father: Hi! How’s the car?
Child: It’s doing fine. We had the oil changed recently.
Father: That’s good. How’s the job?
Child: Going well.
Father: How are the kids?
Child: They are doing OK. Johnny had a cold, but he’s better now.
Father: That’s good. Here’s your mother…
I have come to the conclusion over the years that most fathers do their best talking when the child is in front of them. Phones are just not a good communication tool. But that’s OK.
I don’t go very long without one of my relatives saying how much I am like my father. Believe me when I say that is one of the greatest compliments I receive. While I think I have garnered some of the best (and yes, some of the worst) traits of my parents, I am proud to be my father’s daughter. I am so glad he has passed on to me many of his skills and values.
So to all the fathers, grandfathers, soon-to-be-fathers, and those we look up to as fathers, thank you. You are not an afterthought in the eyes of a child, whether they be newborn or 90.