The third Sunday every June is designated Father’s Day in the United States. So, today, in the final of our Friday Tribute Series, we pay tribute to fathers and what they mean to us.
First of all, I would like to say a few words about my own father. He grew up in Xenia, Illinois, and was one of ten children in his family. My grandfather was a farmer and the family was not wealthy – quite the opposite, actually. My father was a navy aircraft gunner in the Pacific during World War II and became an oil-field welder as his career. His work as a welder was hot and miserable in the summer and frigid in the winter. He worked 6 days/week all his working life. He had one week of unpaid vacation per year, but we always took a family vacation. He loved to fish and hunt, but being a full-time father was his avocation, hobby, and passion. I was active in sports and school activities all the way through college and he rarely missed an event, even when it meant driving hours and getting home late leaving little time for sleep before doing it all over again.
My father was the model for hard-work, integrity, and dedication to his wife and children. He was always kind to others and treated everyone with respect. He was so intent that his own children attend college that he never taught any of the four of us to weld, despite frequent requests. He never wanted us to be tempted to take his own path. Much of what I am, value, and try to do is in response to what I learned from him.
I think it is important to say thanks to the fathers in our midst that sacrifice for their families. So, to the fathers in the group, this is for you:
- Thanks for putting aside your own hobbies for a few years to focus on the activities of your kids even though you get a tear in your eye every time you clean the dust and cobwebs off your golf clubs
- Thanks for going to work early or doing extra late at night or for giving up “work time” to be at your important kids events, such as dance recitals, soccer games in the snow, and endless band concerts, then acting in the end as if it was the greatest entertainment event you have ever attended
- Thanks for your patience doing homework with the kids even though your old way of doing math problems is “the wrong way” in today’s educational system
- Thanks for saying “no” when you needed to, “yes” when your heart said no, and “I love you” every day – you have shown your kids that there will never be a day when you don’t love them and want the best for them
- Thanks for teaching your kids that hard work, solid education, and ambition are no more important that integrity, service to others, and kindness in getting ahead in this world
- Thanks for being at home when your kids needed you most
- Thanks for always ensuring that your kids know that you love their mother and for letting them see you show outward affection to her – this teaches them what a loving marriage should be and what kind of spouse they should eventually seek
- Thanks for those special one-on-one times when you treat your kids to ice cream – you learn a lot about your kids when you do
- Thanks for protecting your kids – not just their physical protection, but protecting them from the negative influences that could so easily overtake them
- Thanks for keeping your promises, for being honest, and for showing your kids that fun times are important and memorable
- Thanks for showing your kids how to fix stuff – or at least who to call when something needs fixed
- Thanks for blessing the life of your children, their friends, and those that watch your love for them in action every day
And, to those of you that have lost your fathers, take the time this weekend to tell your kids or grandchildren a favorite story of growing up with your father. Better yet, write it down so no one ever forgets it.
Finally, I have included a couple of links below to songs that are fitting for a Father’s Day tribute. These remind me that the greatest honor of my lifetime has been to be Dad and Grandpa to those special people in my own life. Have a great weekend!