Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there

Published 8:30 am Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! 

It’s your day to be honored.  It’s your day to try to understand how your offspring feel about you.  Let’s face it.  Often it’s the father who administers the punishment, the final word, the refusal.  Sometimes your children hold a grudge and resent your being the tough parent. 

I remember asking my mom if I could do something, go somewhere, whatever.  She would almost always say, “Go ask your father.”  My dad was a bit of a pushover and predictably would volley back to my mom.  I often thought it would be logical if I could get them in the same room so that I didn’t have to go back and forth.  But I finally recognized, they probably intentionally planned it that way so as to wear me down. 

It usually only frustrated me, but I can’t say the back and forth ever wore me down.  I was—and still am—pretty persistent.  

A mother quickly forms a bond with her child when she learns she is pregnant.  There is a 9-month “get-acquainted” period for mothers.  Dad, however, must wait until he holds his newborn in his arms.  Oh sure, he can place his hands on the mother’s tummy to feel his baby moving.  But it is that profound moment when dad first cradles his child that fatherhood becomes real.  Ask any stepfather or adoptive father if he loves his child any less because he came to fatherhood via a different path.  I’m certain the answer is no. 

Dads have a challenging time trying to figure out their role.  Are they the breadwinner?  Not necessarily.  Are they the disciplinarian?  Occasionally.  Are they the protector?  Always.  It is my belief that you parent in much the same way you were raised.  That can be both good—and bad.  If you feel your childhood was happy, it’s easy to mimic your parents.  If, however, your childhood was fraught with angst and anxiety about your father’s behavior and attitudes, you might employ the opposite approach to parenting your child.  Life is complicated.  And families can be as well.  

I’m sure by this time you have already purchased a card that conveys your love for your father.  There are a lot of different ways to say, “I love you” in Hallmark fashion.  There’s also the time-honored tradition of trying to present your father with the best gift ever.  You know what I’m talking about.  You feel as though you missed the mark a bit with the gift to your mom on Mother’s Day.  But, hey, she was thrilled with your effort.  Like me, she’s so busy being grateful for her offspring and hopeful that they are forgiving for her shortcomings as a parent to dwell on the gift you presented. 

But with dad, you hope to impress.  You want to nail it.  So, you spend a lot of time trying to decide between the meat delivery subscription, the cool Ray Bans, or the Apple watch.  But in your heart, you know the perfect gift when you stumble on the prepaid gift gas cards on Amazon!  Both pricey and sure to please your dad!  And perhaps he’ll return the favor on your birthday.  

If you are fortunate enough to still have your dad in your life, be sure to celebrate him and to let him know that you are grateful for him, grateful for the lessons you learned from him, and grateful for the role model he was by setting the bar high for you as a parent.  Engage your dad in conversation.  Ask him about his youth, about his parents, and grandparents.  Pay attention to his voice, his laugh, and listen.  Really listen.  You will learn a lot about yourself.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

 

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.