The meaning of ‘father’

Fathers don’t always receive the attention they deserve, often because many fathers garner attention that isn’t so good.

Tales of single fathers and stay-at-home dads are not as common as tales of fathers gone wrong, fathers who succumb to the terrible pressures of supporting a family in a tight economy or fathers who simply never even tried to meet those pressures in the first place.

But all fathers don’t simply act as a genetic donor who then goes away or goes wrong.

The fathers who stick around, who work at the job of caring for and supporting children while trying to instill some sense of the need for hard work, respect, community and family are the ones who are saluted today.

Some dismiss Father’s Day as the ultimate greeting-card holiday, the sole purpose of which is to sell gifts and knicknacks. Its origins are not as clear cut as those of Mother’s Day, after all.

But rest assured that to a good father, it’s not about giving or receiving something tagged with the words “world’s greatest dad.” A father’s true reward, the best gift, is in having the respect of his children, earned not by an iron hand but by trust, thanks and the realization of the value of his fatherhood.

No father knows in his daily dealings with his children which move he made during the day will be one that sticks with the child forever. The good ones can be as simple as playing catch or attending a pretend tea party, and as complex as the advice given when the child goes out into the world of adulthood, to work and establish a family.

But it all is of value, because every action shapes a child.

Thus, in a world of men gone wrong, good fathers deserve a day set aside for them to recognize the value of the effort they give.

Yes, fathers appreciate greeting cards, a nice dinner, a chance to kick back for a day and be king.

But the best gift is the one that existed yesterday and will go on tomorrow in the form of a treasured relationship with a child. Without that, the word “father” is meaningless.

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