Being a father is no easy task and in my lifetime the media seems to be full of stories where fathers either don’t exist, are ‘deadbeats’, abusive, absentee, or derided as stay-at-home. There doesn’t seem to be anything good to say about Fathers unless you’re talking to someone about ‘family values’ and then you’re not talking about a real father, but about ideals which exist only in the mind.
In my own family there have been a multitude of Fathers. One got kicked out of the house and was never seen again, one was killed in an accident, one liked to molest small children, and then there is my biological father. I lucked out in the Father department because he really is an example of what it is to be a ‘good Dad’. He’s loving, strong, kind, gentle, and present. He worked for a living, came home each night, took care of me, did the yard work, built the house we lived in, kept it up, played board games, bowled, fished, and did all the things that Dad’s are supposed to do. He rarely raised his voice, laughed a lot, had great friends, and never lost sight of the irony that in a house full of women (4 daughters and a wife) even the cat was female and he had no hope of peace on a Sunday afternoon. He had to read his newspaper in the bedroom if he wanted quiet.
I won’t be trite and tell you to love your father and reach out to him today, because I know that not all fathers are good. There are a huge range of relationships we have with our fathers and they are complex negotiations between who they are and what we need. Sometimes the most healthy thing you can do for yourself is to keep them out of your life. But whatever your relationship is, today is the day to think about it. Heal it, put it away for good, or celebrate it.