I had to look it up. Father’s Day has been celebrated since the 1500s. I figured it was a Hallmark invention or Macy’s gimmick so kids would buy more ties for dear old dad. But, little did I know, it was tied in with the Feast of Saint Joseph. Yeah, Joseph, Big Joe, the dad of dads. He’s the guy who by all accounts did a pretty decent job as a dad since he raised somebody named Jesus. Now there was a guy who could brag about his kid. But by all accounts he did no such thing. When other dads were boasting about how their kid was going to be the best chariot racer or most awesome shepherd, Joseph was just hoping his kid would get in the carpenter’s union. And you know what else, he was probably hoping his kid would be a nice person and do unto to others.
Imagine the conversations with other dads. Yo Joe, your kid can walk on water. He’s really made the big time. You must be so proud. I’m guessing Joseph would’ve just nodded and said he was most proud of his son being a good person.
That’s what I think dads should shoot for. That their kids turn out to be good people.
You want to be a better golfer, you practice more. You want to get far in your career, you show up early and work hard and keep learning. You can usually measure your progress. You start hitting that golf ball straight and you start getting promotions on the job. But you want to be a better dad, what do you do? It’s certainly more art than science.
There are manuals and how-to books on all sorts of things. Including how to be a great dad. Ok, so you do the basics. Play catch with them. Read to them. Be good to their mom. Give them hugs. Spend your spare time with them. Some say the only thing kids want from their dads is time.
Until they don’t want to spend time with their dads. Which happens. And should happen. See? It’s weird. You give your kids time and unconditional love and then they reject you. Sometimes in little ways, sometimes in big, explosive ways.
They want to spread their wings. They want their independence. And you gotta let them go. But you can’t let them go so far they think you’ve abandoned them. It’s an art.
What’s a good dad? It’s something we with kids want to be. But there’s no way to know for sure if you’ve managed it.
Sometimes a father’s love means working 50 weeks a year and providing for the family, leaving precious little time for ball or dance recitals. Sometimes a father can’t express his love and just hopes his kids sense it. Sometimes it’s remembering kids have their own lives and you should butt out.
I’ve heard it said that the best a father can do is provide things — advice, opportunity, setting example, etc. — so that his children can become better than him. That doesn’t mean the kids have to have more. It means you just want your kids to be better than you. More loving. More generous. More understanding. Better.
It ain’t easy, dads. But it’s your most important job. That’s why there’s a day for you. So here’s to all who try. I bet Saint Joseph doesn’t mind sharing the day. Happy Father’s Day.
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS