Father’s Day 2015

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Father’s Day 2015

Father’s Day. It’s an interesting holiday. On the surface, one might be fooled into thinking it’s on par with Mother’s Day. But any of us who have had a mother, been married to a mother, or been a mother know that isn’t true (if you are keeping score, that’s pretty much everyone). Forbes ran a story a couple of years ago comparing spending for moms vs for dads (hint: mom won).

Even the way we celebrate moms v dads tends to be different. Maybe the kids bring mom breakfast in bed, or the family goes to brunch or lunch at a nice restaurant. On Father’s Day, dad can be found manning the grill cooking his own food, or maybe buying the hotdogs at a baseball game. But is this a bad thing? Does it mean we love Dad less than Mom?

In general, I would say no. Rather, it is a reflection of who these individuals are, what they like, and what makes them feel special. Mom’s tend to value a few moments of being pampered, and for being appreciated for all the things that she does each day. Dad’s like being in control, they like providing, even to the point of manning the grill and cooking their own burgers and steaks. We don’t mind slipping our kids $40 bucks so they can buy us a card and a present. We also realize that we better be the ones taking them shopping for mom, and we had better be spending more than $40!

Sure, I am painting with broad strokes here, and the generalities don’t always apply. But for many of us, the generalities fit. I think it is a good thing Moms and Dads are different; it is what allows us to meet different needs in our children’s lives, and to fill different roles in our family units as a whole. It’s why we can have two days that celebrate the two people that fill the role of parent, yet celebrate them in completely different ways, and everyone still be happy.

happy fathers day 3As I have grown older, Father’s Day has taken on a different meaning to me. My children are adults. I often tell them the only gift I want is to be with them. However, they cannot fully accept that; they feel the need to get cards and gifts. I love the cards, reading and rereading them long after their “expiration” date. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and sacrifice of the gift, but I look for ways to flow back the expense to them later in the year. The thing I enjoy more than anything, is their presence, their laughter and smiles, their hugs, and their love. Stories told of childhood memories. The unintended reassurances that I didn’t screw them up too much with my parenting mistakes and miscues. Those things are priceless to me. Those are the gifts they think are insignificant, but mean so incredibly much to me. I admit it… I am a sap!

Father’s Day 2015 will have extra significance for me. My father is 82, and was in the hospital last week. He is home now and doing well, but it is a reminder of how fragile life is, and what an important role this man has had in my world my entire life. The knowledge of knowing he was there if I really needed him was always a comfort, even when I didn’t acknowledge it, even to myself. I had a role model to follow, behaviors to emulate, trusted advice to follow, a cheerleader, and a helping hand. I will celebrate him and his incredible impact on my life with gusto, because each decade, each year, each hour, and each minute is precious and not to be wasted.

At the same time, I recently learned that my own son, who is 27, and my daughter-in-law are going to make me a grandfather early next year. So this Father’s Day, I will be keenly aware that four generations of Owens’s will soon be gathered together. I’ve been thinking about this a lot! In fact, I recently spent half a day on the internet looking up suggestions for my “grandfather name.” (Note: that’s a bad idea!)

So I will be thinking on this Father’s Day that by this time next year I will take on a new role, grandfather, and hope that I can be as good a grandfather as my grandfathers were to me. They were men I cherished and respected. How can I ever be like them? It’s an immense responsibility, an immense challenge, and an immense blessing.

I am also keenly aware that my son will take on the dual role that I have experienced for the last 27 years; that of son and father. It will change him, challenge him, and allow him to grow and flourish. He will be an amazing father; better than I ever was. I am excited about watching that occur!

Regardless of what your life circumstances, take a few minutes to tell that man in your life who has loved you, guided you, supported you, provided for you, sacrificed for you, encouraged you, or cheered for you “thank you.” It will move his heart, no matter how tough he is on the outside. We Dads don’t need much. But a thank you, your thoughtful words, a hug, and your love… priceless.

 

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Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations. He is also a thankful son, a very proud father, and soon to be ecstatic grandfather!

 

 

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