A Shout-Out to Dads
Now, more than ever, the world needs more people who are kind, compassionate, open-minded, and unafraid of the discomfort that comes with changing the status quo. My hope is that as we muddle through the tough questions of the day and wade into some complex circumstances that demand our attention, we raise our children to become the very people that this world needs. To that end, I want to send a shout-out to the dads who are in the business of nurturing the young souls who will one day run the world and, hopefully, thrive in it. Happy Father's Day, Dads!
Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson
Just my humble opinion, but the BEST comic strip of all time.
Here we are, day 2,947, of lockdown, and cabin fever has set in for some, as the Groundhog Day-like rhythm of the past few months has engendered a bit of a fatigue. For others, however, the pandemic restrictions have contributed to the lovely plus of closer relationships on the home front. Nowhere is that more evident than the increasing involvement of dads in the daily life of their kids. I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the dads who, before the pandemic, during, and now, are not just showing up. I want to thank the dads:
who are true girl-dads that tell their daughters that they are beautiful and strong, and that they have the right and the ability to change the world;
who show their sons that empathy and compassion are not weaknesses, but are, in fact, strengths that will make them better partners and leaders;
who try to be that DIY handy guy, but who also know when to retreat and allow their partner to call a real handy person so that the job is done not only in a reasonable period of time, but is also done well;
The Simpsons. Dysfunction since 1989.
"Manly-man." Er, right...
who, although they might not be able to make it to their kids' games or practices, they show up in the ways that count - they know their kids' favourites: superheroes, princesses, dinosaur species, music artists, TV programs (that includes every single one of Thomas the Tank Engine's friends...); they make Nutella-banana wraps for them (even though they think it's gross); they happily receive their daughter's make-over magic; and when their kids come looking for them, they put down their phone/article/TV remote/whatever and devote 100% of their focus to them;
who are comfortable wearing Elsa's dress and dancing to "Frozen," and are also comfortable just dancing and potentially looking silly, because they'll give their children the security and confidence that come with the freedom of expressing oneself without fear of ridicule (well, until they have their own teens, at which point anything that dad does will be very uncool);
The Evolution of Dad Dancing, Jimmy Fallon, 2012.
We've all seen these moves. And they're not limited to dads.
who regularly ask themselves whether or not they are modelling the kind of father, partner, son, brother, friend, co-worker, or citizen that they hope their children will be, and adjust their course accordingly; and
who know that saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, admonishing their kid for no reason other than that they were in a bad mood at the time, and disappointing their kid because work got in the way, are all just a few of the many ways they will mess up, but they own them all, acknowledge them, and do what it takes to do better.
"For many of us, our fathers show us by the example they set the kind of people they want us to become. Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, they teach us through the encouragement they give, the questions they answer, the limits they set, and the strength they show in the face of difficulty and hardship." - Barack Obama
It's not easy, trying to raise kids into great human beings, so thank you for doing right by your children, for striving to impart the wisdom of your fathers (and mothers) to your own children, and for being open to learning about the world as it evolves and passing this new-found wisdom along, too. Above all, thank you for all that you do to make your children feel loved. There is no greater gift.
Happy Father's Day!
Until next time,