Father's Day was this past weekend, and hubby and I are driving home from our weekend, listening to talk radio and callers are calling in telling the hosts about the best advice their father ever gave them, and how it impacted their lives.
My father isn't one to give advice, but I certainly listened when he told me to get my oil changed every 3,000 miles.
So most of these stories are heartwarming tear-jerkers about how dad taught them integrity, the value of hard work, honesty, respect, love, and all that wonderful, necessary, character building stuff that parents, and especially Dad's need to teach their kids. And the host of the show makes a comment that anyone can father a child, but it takes a real man to be a dad.
And he's right.
I know this because I see every year dozens and dozens of kids who don't have a Dad. They have fathers, some of them, but they don't have a Dad.
Dads come home from work and instead of plopping down in from of the idiot tube with a beer, they spend time with their kids playing, reading, doing homework, just hanging out.
Dads realize that their kids come first. That you have to make sacrifices in life to be a Dad. That even if you're tired, you've had a bad day, and you just want some peace and quiet, that taking five minutes to watch your kid do a new trick on a skateboard is more important than anything else in life.
I worked with a gentleman once who never, ever, missed one of his boy's baseball games. Never. He got criticized for this up in the higher levels of the corporation we worked for because he wasn't "dedicated to the company", or "focused on results." Ironically, these same people who made the sneering nasty comments about his dedication to his family would bring their kids out on business trips (I was living in California at the time) and then have a company employee take their kids to Disneyland while their Father sat in business meetings all day. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who's going to have the good, well-adjusted kids and who's going to have the drug-adled serial killers.
Children are just starving for Dads in their lives. Mr. Bluebird made it a habit of coming down to my school and playing the game of Risk with the kids in our chess and boardgame club, and it was amazing how those kids just flocked around him. They all wanted to play with him, they all wanted to sit by him, they all wanted his attention and his approval. And when I looked at the kids who were hanging around him, I noticed that most of them didn't have Dads in their lives.
Our kids, and especially boys, need Dads. They need the guidance, attention, and love that a Dad can give. And it's tragic how many of our children are growing up without a Dad in their lives. My Dad was always, always, always there for me when I was growing up and even now that I'm older and married. I can't imagine how my life would be different if it wasn't for my Dad.
We need more Dads.