Celebrating Fathers in 2023

dad with daughter on his back, piggyback

I was out walking my dog on Father’s Day and someone I did not know stopped her car, leaned out the window, and wished me Happy Father’s Day. It struck me how important celebrating Father’s Day is to many individuals. 

I was thinking about the impact of a father, particularly when I see my own sons become fathers. I have small grandchildren and am watching my two sons go through the paces of becoming a father and learning how to raise their own children. They have realized how difficult it is and are asking me how I made it through. We are having good discussions about parenting, patience and the developmental ages of their children and the behaviors that accompany each developmental stage. 

Another part of our family legacy was the impact of my father-in-law. We had the privilege of having my wife’s parents live with us for over 20 years. My father-in-law was a WWII veteran and told war stories over and over. He also was a very strong personality and had a great sense of enthusiasm for life and a sarcastic sense of humor. He passed away at age 95 and left a wonderful impression on our family.

It is a regular part of our family conversations to reminisce about all the stories he told, some of his unique attributes and how he changed words to fit his own sense of purpose. It was almost as if he spoke his own language which my two sons continue to mimic. They repeat his stories, his sayings, his values and his strong sense of loving his family. I am so glad my sons had that exposure and experience. It gave them a stronger sense of rootedness and has become a set of memories that they will never forget.

I could tell many stories but the point is that the impact of a father, a grandfather and other father-like figures are so important to our sense of balance and depth in life. We have all kinds of funny memes about dads but in reality, they have a central and lasting impact on our lives by genetics, by their impact and by their guidance.

I realize that many individuals may not have the heritage that my sons have had. There are all kinds of reasons that are possible as to why there is no father or grandfather in their lives.   Regardless of why, they have missed a significant part of their family legacy. When a Father’s Day is celebrated the very thought of it can trigger that sense of loss and even a sense of trauma. It is very hard to live in that reality when these types of holidays are celebrated.

I appreciate being celebrated as a father. I enjoy watching my sons become fathers and I remember so many good things about my family legacies. Fathers are well worth celebrating and hopefully we can step into the lives of those we know who do not have a father to provide the support and help they may need. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to give that gift to someone who may have not had the experience of a good dad.

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