June is traditionally the month that we highlight many of life’s transitions and achievements, such as celebrating the academic achievements of our children. June also launches a season of weddings, family reunions, great weather and vacations. In the midst of these things, we also take time to focus on celebrating parents—Mother’s Day in May, and, now, in June we celebrate our nation’s fathers.
More so than in the past, I believe there now is a greater anticipation of Father’s Day. In fact, groups and families start thinking about it months in advance. My son asked me on Mother’s Day where I wanted to go for Father’s Day. He suggested Chuck E. Cheese, but that is another blog. Certainly, as evidenced by the number of Super Bowl commercials we are now seeing, more father focused movies, products and messages geared toward this deserving parent, the importance of fathers is a growing trend.
However, while I now look forward to the day and the many "Happy Father’s Day" messages I will receive on Facebook, one happy event almost slipped my mind. It is not the fact that my granddaughter is turning 13 this summer, not even the fact that my youngest daughter just turned 16. Amazingly not, even the fact that my 6-year-old won a 1st and 2nd place medal in his first karate competition. So what is it?
My middle daughter graduated from college!
As commonly done by many parents who have children away in college, my wife and I planned her move from New York to Atlanta, paid off all the remaining school bills and wondered whether we could keep enough food in the refrigerator for a returning mouth to feed. While it may sound like a parent’s burden, we are overwhelmingly happy that she has a college degree and pleased to have her back at home.
In addition, I had an epiphany. I succeeded in getting a child through 16 years of education. My daughter graduated! In addition, for Father’s Day, I am not only proud of her, but I am proud of myself. You see, I have worked hard to provide for her, shared a little wisdom and kept her safe. I have been the male influence I believe she needs to go off into the world with a well-rounded and healthy perspective of what a father is supposed to do for his family.
As a result of this accomplishment, all the previous Father’s Day gifts (ugly ties, soap-on-rope, shaving kits and #1 Dad coffee mug) does not seem so bad. Maybe big gifts might take away from the things we are really supposed to celebrate as fathers. Who knows, maybe getting a new car, a big screen TV or tickets to the Super Bowl would only be a distraction. On the other hand, maybe I just lost my mind . I am still waiting to receive these things to test my theory.
Having fantasied for a moment, I do believe that as fathers we find life’s biggest joys and satisfaction in the accomplishments of our children. So on this Father’s Day, I encourage my fatherhood brethren--as you receive the many “Happy Father’s Day” accolades, keep a big smile on your face, give out big hugs and kisses, open your presents with enthusiasm, and know that your presence is priceless. You are a dynamic dad – Happy Father’s Day!
Kenneth Braswell, Director, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse