Overcoming the Irony of Father’s Day

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The irony of Father’s Day is that many fathers use it as “our day”, wanting to spend it alone participating in our own hobbies and desires. I have fallen into this trap as much as anyone. But as fathers day is a celebration of our fatherhood, it should be more appropriate for us to spend it with our children.

Father’s Day was first observed in 1908 in a small West Virginia town, mainly because Mother’s Day was already practiced and they didn’t want the fathers to feel left out. It wasn’t officially recognized until the mid-1960s, delayed so long because of the fear it would become commercialized (who got a tie today?).

But truly Father’s Day begins at a different time for each of us. Mine began 10 years ago about 4 months after my first son was born. As with most first time fathers, I was scared and excited. I made him a promise to do my best to take care of him, protect him, and teach him how to thrive in his time on Earth. I certainly do that better some days than others, but it is still my standard.

My second son came home from from the hospital on Father’s Day, a wonderful present, with my daughter coming along over 3 years later. I also have another daughter joining us any day, another wonderful Father’s Day present. I try to spend time with each of my children frequently, but it’s often hard and I often fall short. But that same promise I made to my first born remains in effect for all of my other children as well.

I love my kids. I want to be a good father. Someone said last week that “a bad [father] who cares is still better than any [father] who doesn’t.” This Father’s Day I’m going to make it a point to spend time with my kids, because it really is their day–I wouldn’t be able to strive to this ideal without them.

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