AND Thank You, Dad

June 21st, 2015

I just love the holidays we set aside to honor those who give so much of themselves to help others. AND for me, Father’s Day is one of those special days.

Much has changed in parenting in the last fifty years. Very often it has been men’s roles that have had to shift dramatically, as women moved more into leadership roles in the workplace. Today there are more men at home directly involved in raising children, with many doing it full time. And, as we know, if the parent loves to nurture and support children, that gift of love, nurturance, and support keeps on giving. We are healthier, as a society, when children are raised by loving and caring adults.

My Dad worked three jobs, while my siblings and I grew up. The lessons of hard work, compassion and service towards those in need, and laughing early and often were constant in our house. Special treats included warm crullers for breakfast after he had worked nights and stopped by the bakery on his way home. Moments shared of winks and grins when we might have otherwise been in trouble, because he could never keep a straight face when it was his job to discipline us, are deeply etched in memory—and evoke easy smiles when I think about them years later.

My father had to work for everything he achieved. He formed lifelong friendships with those he either worked with or served, sharing what he had to help others and accepting their gifts to help us. Many of those friendships continue decades later, actively nurtured over shared telephone calls or meals. I love watching how Dad responds to whatever life brings or takes away. He looks up, moves on, and moves through challenging circumstances, determined to find the goodness in life and other people. He teaches by being, and I feel blessed to be a recipient of his being every day.

The lessons children learn from an early age play out for the rest of their lives, either unconsciously or by choice. A father’s influence is immeasurable. Those who did not grow up with a father present often seek and benefit from people ready to step into the father-role. AND many teachers, coaches, and bosses fill that role.

So, as we pause to honor the men who have stepped up to raise the next generations of children and who give of themselves to give their children and others every opportunity to step into their gifts and talents, here is a huge THANK YOU. I count my Dad as one of the greatest blessings in my life, every day.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and Happy Father’s Day to all the men who answer the call of father.

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