Sunday is our day. It's Father's Day, and perhaps we should anticipate a proper celebration for the work we do year-round to support our families. Options include watching a game, exercising for hours, and eating good food without interruptions.
However you recognize Father’s Day this year, enjoy the moment. The time we have with our children is limited.
On Monday, I attempted to kiss my daughter on the cheek when I dropped her off at school. She ignored me again.
My daughter is 12 but on the verge of turning 35. We are reaching that pre-puberty stage where kissing and hugging me in public is not cool. It's not easy, but I am learning to accept it as the phase she must go through during her life’s journey.
I did similar things to my dad. He was not an affectionate father, but I often distanced myself from him in public spaces. His gray business suits and bifocal glasses interfered with the little swag I had in the sixth grade.
Reflecting on my childhood, I remember the enjoyable moments with my dad. We played basketball together and often beat his best friend and son in games at the YMCA. I frequently sat with him in his home study as he read books and prepared Sunday sermons.
His teachings created the foundation for my spiritual, familial, and educational values.
Basketball mornings and quiet afternoons are among my pleasant memories. I like to forget the days my dad disciplined me with his belt called “the brown bruiser." His swats hurt more than my mother's. I also detested his frequent travels to fulfill church obligations while I stayed at home with my five sisters and mom.
As a father of three children, I can better understand some of my dad’s ways.
None of us our perfect fathers. We may excel in one area of parenting and fail in another. That dichotomy comes with anything where you have skin in the game.
We make sacrifices outside of the house for our families, and they misinterpret our absences as neglect. Sometimes, we attempt to improve things with gifts when children only want our undivided attention.
That's where I am now with my daughter. She's reached a stage where mindful time with her is crucial. After we talked for twenty minutes on Tuesday, I convinced her to smile and give me two hugs. She reminded me of something I learned from my dad.
It's important to maintain a consistent presence in our children's lives. They need us to provide emotional, financial, and spiritual support.
We can’t limit our attention to one area and disengage from other aspects of fatherhood. Our money cannot fulfill every need; it can't wipe tears or butts without leaving scars behind. It's vital to listen to their needs, practice empathy, and offer guidance throughout their lives.
Sometimes what they want is not what they need. A solid partner can help you understand the difference. If they are not around, time and reflection will teach you.
Whether you are just starting with a newborn, approaching the teenage years, or glancing at grandchildren, appreciate the blessing of your role as a father. Don't limit it to the Hallmark holiday. Take a break from your work and make time for your children today.
For a video snapshot of how I instill healthy habits in my children, see this month's vlog episode dedicated to my middle child; he bears my father's name. Subscribe to this blog for fatherhood motivation, inspiration, and practical tips.