A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” -Billy Graham
A few months ago I wrote a post asking if dad’s were incompetent, intending to give the women who think so an opportunity to consider that the men in their life may just have different skill sets and roles to play in their parenting partnerships.
Unfortunately, some dads misunderstood my intent and ended up on the defense. I know I shouldn’t take a few disagreeable comments so personally, but it’s been bothering me ever since. Why? Because the truth is that I think dads are completely indispensable and–as Billy Graham once said–one of the most valuable assets in our society.
I abhor the current mindset in some segments of our culture that suggest a father isn’t even necessary for raising children. While I know there are many women doing a fantastic job raising their children alone, most of them never planned for it to be that way, and I would hope we all agree that having a father in the home (even a less than perfect one) is in fact the best case scenario.
With all the research linking a variety of negative outcomes to the rise in dead beat dads, absentee fathers, and the like, and in the face of a media that seems obsessed with presenting a caricature of fathers as dimwitted goofballs always deferring to their infinitely more competent wives (I’m all for equity among the sexes in parenting, but I don’t think the way to go about it is by demeaning father figures or giving an exaggerated sense of power to mothers), I’d like to recognize the truly exceptional fathers of the world and be a voice for putting Dad back on his pedestal–right next to Mom.
While I owe a debt of gratitude to my own father, today I’d like to shine the spotlight on the father of my children. I know there are women out there who don’t feel it’s their job to acknowledge their husbands on Father’s Day (“He’s not my father . . .”), but personally, I feel so grateful for what my husband is doing for my children that I just can’t help myself. He’s the only other person in this world who loves and cares about my children as much as I do, and I’m well aware that it’s going to be quite some time before our children realize how good they’ve got it and start dishing out the gratitude themselves.
With the gazillion other mom-centric posts on this site as well as others, I’d like to offer a little love to the dads out there who make our jobs a little (or a whole lot) easier. So with my own husband in mind, I extend this Top 10 list of thanks to all the dads who are doing it right. You are more than competent, you are incomparable and irreplaceable!
1) Thank you for being the kind of man I wanted to have in the delivery room for the birth of our children. I still can’t believe you actually sprained your wrist from rubbing my lower back with a tennis ball when I fancied the idea of natural childbirth with our first child. I ended up laboring with our large headed, overdue, and posterior child for over 30 hours, and you were there for every single minute of it. You were a life saver then and you are a life saver now.
2) Thank you for not being above “Woman’s Work.” You change diapers, burp babies, cook up some mean spaghetti, try to make decent ponytails, and wrap up unfinished housework when needed–all without guilt tripping me when I had my own tough day at home. You even sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door so the kids will wake you up first when they have a nightmare. (And thank you for quietly creeping around in the morning when I’m the one who had a bad night’s sleep!)
3) Thank you for your example of bringing home the bacon. After enduring almost a decade of difficult training when you probably would have liked a quick and easy “good enough” job after college, you get up and go to work every day to provide for our family even when you don’t feel like it, even when you have a raging headache (like this morning), and even when you don’t find it personally fulfilling. Thank you. Thank you.
4) Thank you for showing our children that what matters to them matters to you.You’ve refereed our son’s soccer team, done presentations at the elementary school for Career Day, chaperoned overnight school activities, hauled harps from one location to another, and gone without dinner straight from work to attend orchestra concerts, dance recitals, and school plays. Our children notice.
5) Thank you for making one-on-one time a priority. You take our children on errands with you when it would be faster and easier to go by yourself. You help them with their homework projects in the evening when you could be in your man cave reading a good book. You involve the kids in your personal hobbies because you hope they will love them too and that you will always have something in common to do together. Your sacrifices will pay off.
6) Thank you for encouraging our children to develop their own passions, imagination, curiosity, and love of learning. Thanks to you, our children are interested in everything from archeology to bonsai trees. And you support them in whatever interests them as well. From skateboarding to stained glass art, our children know you’re behind them and their dreams 100%.
7) Thank you for teaching our children they can do hard things. You take them on challenging outdoor adventures that not only provide them opportunities to appreciate nature, but also to develop self-confidence. You don’t give in to their whining when they want to avoid doing something difficult, and you handle they’re physical pain much better than I do. You’re the go-to parent whether one of our children needs to take a trip to the hospital or just needs a shot of encouragement. You’ve been by the side of each of our children as they’ve learned how to swim, ride a bike, climb a mountain, perform on stage, and face a bully. You will always be their first hero.
8) Thank you for keeping our children’s mother sane. (Heaven knows it’s no easy job!) You can cut the tension between me and the kids with your sense of humor when it’s obvious I’m at the end of my rope. You prod them along when there’s a project to be done at home and I’m worn out from prodding them just to clean their rooms. You bring me back to reality when I’m stewing irrational thoughts in my head about all the ways I’m ruining our children. You speak to me with courtesy and respect, showing our kids how to do the same. You thank me for dinner, even if it’s something as simple as a frozen “heat and eat” meal, and take me out for dinner and adult conversation whenever you get the chance. It’s been said that the greatest gift a father can give to his children is to love his mother, and I’d say you’ve got that one covered.
9) Thank you for having strong faith. As strong as you are in our children’s eyes, you have always made it clear where that strength comes from. You’ve taught them to rely on God in all things, and to live by tried and true principles of happiness. Because of that I can rest assured that our children will always find success in the things that matter most–just like you have.
10) Thank you for all the little things that are really the big things. Like yelling from the sidelines in your work clothes, and snuggling the kids to sleep while telling your own made up bedtimes stories, and picking things up from the grocery store on your way home from work, and taking our hard-to-shop-for teenager clothes shopping, and sewing up the torn baby bunny doll clothes for our young daughter, and being there every day of our children’s lives like a sentinel, a lighthouse, and a guidepost.
Thank you, rockin’ dads of the world. Your efforts really are shaping the future. Thank you for being the champions of motherhood that you are by doing your part as well as supporting us in ours. We couldn’t do what we do without you.
QUESTION: Why are you grateful for the father of your children?
CHALLENGE: Add your reasons in the comments section below.