In the past few years, Fathers Day has become a more significant milestone in my mind. Maybe its due to not having my own dad around with whom to express gratitude. Maybe its that I’m near that empty nest transition. Or it could be simply because I am more in tune with the importance of being a dad.
It may also be due to the way my mind seems to pick out the differences in the stories of Mother Day and Fathers Day. I tend to notice the accounts that tell how mom has always been there and served as the rock of the family. Contrast these with with the ones that don’t even know dad at all and are about the search to find out who he is or was. I read PostSecret faithfully every Sunday, but I don’t dare read it on Fathers Day for this very reason. Its too discouraging. It think its because I want more for all us dads out there.
For me, being a dad is both a profound responsibility and an important source of internal motivation. At its core is the jolt from the sudden realization upon the doctors announcement, “Here’s your boy” or “Say hello to your daughter.” It’s that proclamation that screams your name loud and clear that you are being called into the duty of being needed more than you’ve ever been needed before. It’s the charge to step up, to embrace the challenge and become the man that you know you want to be, but are not sure you have what it takes to do the job well.
My father always told me that everyone needs to be needed, and that everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning and that children can provide that. And while the immediate demands of fatherhood change as the kids get older, they still need their dad’s approval and encouragement even after dad has passed.
Even though my Dad has been gone for 6 years, I still glean from him posthumously. His legend becomes greater and greater with no new material being offered. I still repeat his same old quotes and tell the same old stories. They might get old to my listener, but never to me.