I really like Marc’s post celebrating his dad on Father’s Day. He’s a good son and an even better dad!
But I’m not a big fan of Father’s Day or Mother’s Day for two main reasons:
First, I really dislike the commercialization of these holidays. And don’t even get me started on Christmas.*
Second, we should honor our parents every day by the ways in which we behave, the lives we make, and in how we regularly treat those who gave us life.** So, if you thought it was a good idea to take your dad out for brunch today, it is probably a good idea to do it on lots of different Sundays throughout the year. If it was a good idea to call your father today to profess your love and respect, yesterday was probably a good day to do that too (memento mori). So I certainly hope you celebrated your father today (assuming he deserved it) – but also give him a call on that chilly Thursday in November that reminds you of the great times you had playing football as a kid or offer to take care of him next week when he needs it since he took care of you as a child when you needed it.
That all being said, the holiday is a healthy reminder for us to do better at fulfilling our filial duties. So I give it at least one cheer.
As for my dad, let me just honor him with one small story (I hope my memory is accurate) that reminds me of how he did his duty as a father and taught by his example the importance of doing what is right even at your own expense. So there we were in the bottom of the last inning in the town Little League championship game. My dad had been pressed into duty to umpire the game when the scheduled ump did not show. The opposing team was up to bat, down at least one run, with men on base and a chance to win the game despite having two outs. The batter hit the ball and there was ultimately a play at the plate and literally a cloud of dust. It was a very, very close play. My dad at first signaled with his arms extended ruling safe while calling out (or was it vice versa?), and then definitively ruled safe. He easily could have called the runner out (especially given his initial mixed ruling), and his son would have won the championship. But he stood by his convictions that the runner was safe and our team was sent home with a loss. Naturally our manager complained vociferously, the crowd was angry, and my teammates badmouthed my dad. And of course I was disappointed that we lost the championship. But if he had done the thing that favored his son in the narrowest of senses, a worthless trophy would be collecting dust in my his basement. But he did the right thing and made what I have no doubt was the right call, and I learned good lessons about sticking up for yourself in the face of much criticism and doing justice even when it is not in your narrow self-interest to do so (and even when you can get away with doing the wrong thing). Thanks Dad!
* Best holidays: 1) Thanksgiving; 2) Patriots Day; 3) July 4th; 4) Opening Day (it should be a holiday); BTW, this obviously excludes personal holidays like your kids’ birthdays or your wedding anniversary. Those are clearly important days – though my caveats above apply to those days as well.
** I think I’m doing ok overall with some real room for improvement in area 3. As for whether I deserve to be feted on Father’s Day, that I’m not so sure of! I have some serious improvements to make in the year ahead.
One thought on “Happy Father’s Day II”
Nice post, Grover.