Father’s Day is just around the corner.
Sebastian here, and I wanted to tackle the topic of Father’s Day by doing something a little different.
No, this isn’t your typical “5 Cheap but Meaningful Father’s Day Gifts” post, but I think you’ll find it just as helpful.
You see, I’m a dad x3, and I know what father’s REALLY want for Father’s Day. You see, it’s not what you may think, and it’s certainly not what our consumerist ideology would have you believe.
It’s something much more simple, and lucky for you, also very affordable.
Father’s Day is for sons and daughters, but also for those who are also dads and moms. No matter your life stage, it is a time to honor and appreciate the special men in your life.
This day brings up a myriad of emotions for everyone, some good and some maybe not so good. Many have lost their father, or maybe never had a father figure in their life. Others may take their father for granted, and this day is nothing more than an obligation.
Regardless, if your father is still in your life you’re likely trying to find the perfect gift or card to show your dad how much you appreciate him. I will admit, it does make a father happy that his children remembered him on that special day at least.
If you’re still interested in finding a simple, yet meaningful, gift then I would encourage you to check out our Mother’s Day article. You’ll find many great ideas that can easily be applied to Father’s Day.
But on this Father’s Day, I thought I’d shift away from gift giving and talk about what father’s really want from their children. You know men have a reputation for not showing emotions, but I’m opening up and talking about the things that really matter, and that really matter to us.
The Experience of Being a Father
First, I want to try my best to reflect on the common experiences of a father. What I’m about to tell you shows how the wants of a father shift throughout parenthood, and they will continue to shift for as long as you live.
There is a lot of good and a little bad to parenting. The best you can do is to enjoy the good and try to learn from the bad.
Every parent wants perfect children, and they try their best to accomplish this impossible feat. Each child is different, and unfortunately don’t come with their own manual for how to raise them.
The mistakes and frustrations weathered by parents are many. Parents try their best to assemble the child’s health, behavior, and future for the optimal degree of success.
It’s kind of like assembling furniture without the instructions. You try to put everything together how it should be, but once you’re done you realize you’ve got a few extra screws and some of the pieces don’t fit properly!
I know men are often accused of not reading the instructions, but it’s really good practice for having kids!
There are no instructions, so you do your best. Yes, it’s not quite 100% perfect, but as long as the furniture can support itself then you’ve done a pretty good job.
Unfortunately, for a father the assembly is just the beginning. Once they’ve grown you begin the life-long replay of should’ves and couldn’ves, and you punish yourself for the mistakes you’ve made.
Many times, you may have even felt as though you failed as a father.
I know I have.
The thing I’ve come to realize is that it isn’t about assembling the perfect child, it’s about trying your best. I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve made peace with that, but if you gave your full effort then you haven’t failed at all.
What you did was teach your children the best you could.
How many times did you manage to keep your emotions in check and handle the day with grace? How many times were you falling apart inside and your kids had no clue? How many sacrifices have you made that they’ll never know about?
Were they happy? Were they safe? In the end, that’s all that really mattered.
Then, as they grow you begin to sail through rough seas and storms. They become independent, and start making their own decisions. You hate their mistakes, and often their actions raise your blood pressure.
But despite this growing process you never give up.
Despite their mistakes, you continue to believe in them because you love them unconditionally. You continue to do everything they’ll allow you to do for them, and to try and steer them down the right path.
You’ll always do these things, no matter how old they get.
I read a study recently that discussed the negatives for children that grow up without a father. The study said that these children tend to be less intellectual. While I disagree with that assessment, I do think it’s more difficult to raise children without that example.
Thousands of people grow up without a father for various reasons and still go on to become successful.
Jodie Foster, Samuel L. Jackson, Alicia Keys, Barack Obama, Julia Roberts, and Alex Rodriguez are some of these people.
But there’s still one person missing from this list.
I lost my father when I was 12.
He had been sick for a few years, disabled by strokes. We didn’t know how to help him, and worse, neither did the doctors. Growing up in the 60’s, the medical community had minimal knowledge for how to combat these issues. In fact, much of the medical advice he received actually made things worse. He was told to quit riding his bike and to do as little physical activity as possible. Nobody knew to tell him that smoking was bad for him.
I watched my dad deteriorate until he was gone, and our lives with him.
At 12, I was old enough to know what was happening, but too young to do anything about it. It’s a terrible position to be in, and I struggle with the pain to this day.
That single event has effected more in my life than any other. Almost every decision I make can be traced back to my childhood experiences and losing my father.
Including those I made in raising my kids.
Just like most fathers I know, I also tried my best to give things to my children that I wasn’t lucky enough to have. That includes a good hug. The pain of not having a father is something I never wanted them to experience.
As a result, my entire life has been dedicated to protecting them. In fact, in my quest to take away any and all potential hardship I now realize perhaps I did too much. My children are adults now, and at times they make decisions that bring struggle.
I’m now having to adjust to a phase in my life where I cannot protect my children from everything. No matter how hard I try, I cannot take all their pain and struggle away.
All I can do is try my best, be there when they need me, love them unconditionally, and let the rest go.
So, What do Father’s Really Want?
I’ve taken the scenic route in getting to my point, but often that route is far more beautiful and meaningful than the straight shot.
For all the pain and struggle we go through, all the fantasies and hopes, a dad’s real dream is to see their children happy and peaceful.
A dad’s dream is to see his children making a conscious effort to do the right thing every day. A dad’s dream is to see their children growing up with genuine respect and love for one another and other people.
Whatever your dream, know that your dad wants it for you too, more than you can ever know.
For my girls, I want you to know that there will always be one guy who has your back, because I loved you first and I always will.
The most meaningful gift for a father doesn’t cost anything. You being his child is more precious than anything you could possibly buy him.
Talk about Money Saved and Love Earned!