This weekend is Father’s Day, a time when guys with kids get recognized for who and what they are, and all they’ve done. It’s also a time when guys reflect back on what they’ve done as fathers.
Many of us lament the fact that we didn’t do more. That kind of shoulda, woulda thinking is only healthy if it leads to a commitment to do more, or try harder, or pay more attention the next time; otherwise it can get kind of depressing. The time when being a father means the most is when our kids are young: when they’re full of wonder at what we know and how we do things. That wears off too quickly and turns into the years when we know too little, care too much, and try too hard. Or so it seems.
But the best is when our kids become adults and we get to interact with them more as peers than as parents – maybe because that’s when they start to experience life in the context of maturity, responsibility, and accountability. And seeing what our kids become is fascinating because that’s when we realize they were paying attention, learning right from wrong, and being able to think logically and independently. Maybe all those conflicting feelings we had (between holding on and letting go) turned out not to be worth the bother. Our kids grew into adulthood just like we did… duh.
My Dad’s been gone more than 20 years, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, or wish I could talk to him about something, or wonder what he’d have to say about what’s going on. I hope I did enough of all those things while I still could, and try not to be regretful that maybe I didn’t. That’s what I think about on Father’s Day.
And now, on this Father’s Day, as I get to see my daughter become a parent, I know that she’ll now start to realize what I did so many years ago: that parents know a lot, and the more we realize what our parents know and how hard they work at being good at parenting , the more we love and respect them. It makes me recall a plaque my Dad had that said: Too soon old, Too late smart. Ain’t that the truth!
So for me, Father’s Day is not about what I get, but what I’ve learned. It’s not about what I want, but what I have. Because it’s not about me, it’s about the family that makes me what I am.
So for all you fathers out there, have a great day. You deserve it!
My message this week is about the saying what you mean and meaning what you say:
“I meant what I said and said what I meant—An elephant’s faithful One hundred percent.”
Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) wrote most of his books in anapestic tetrameter, a poetic meter employed by many poets of the English literary canon. This is often suggested as one of the reasons that Geisel's writing was so well-received.
If there’s one thing I know it’s that most people say, that an elephant’s memory never ever goes away; and the things that elephants remember in their heads, are all the things good and things bad that are said.
So think your words carefully before you speak them out loud, because friends who are like elephants will take what you say and remember them clearly on some other day.
And just as important as the words that you speak are the things that you do every day every week, because if your words and your actions are not exactly the same then if someone misinterprets them they’re really not to blame.
So when it comes to your loyalties remember this verse, and make sure that your words and your actions all match; because that’s how others will judge if they’re true, and then they will know the who and the what that is really the real YOU.
And by saying what you mean and meaning what you say, you’ll have loyalties to bank for the next rainy day.
p.s. The pic above is of me and my daughter taken more than 30 years ago.