So, Father’s Day happened a few days ago. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about it here as part of the “Dad’s Eye View.” For starters, I must confess that I generally have […]
So, Father’s Day happened a few days ago. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about it here as part of the “Dad’s Eye View.” For starters, I must confess that I generally have a very apathetic attitude about “holidays” such as this one. They feel contrived to me. It seems like they started with something good (i.e., a desire to honor people for their valuable contribution to our lives), but then they got co-opted over time and turned into an excuse for excessive commercialism and consumption. My disgust for such things brings me to a place of overwhelming indifference about days like Father’s Day. But this year, I decided that wasn’t OK. Something needed to change about my view on this.
As I reflected on this Father’s Day, I started to see that much of my discomfort with the generally accepted way of celebrating Father’s Day is that it puts so much attention and emphasis on the father. This would seem natural at first, but I’ve come to think the attention is misplaced. The reason for this is that my fatherhood completely depends on other people. I wouldn’t be a father without my wonderful wife who bore our children. I couldn’t be a father without children, because a father is, by definition, a man with children. Without my wife and children, I’m just a guy.
If anything is worthy of celebration, it’s my family. That’s why it feels weird to have this day set aside where my family is supposed to celebrate me. It’s backwards. I reject the “supposed to” approach, and I wish instead to craft a different way of observing Father’s Day for my family. I think it should look a lot more like Thanksgiving—a day where I, as a father, can show my family how thankful I am for them. I want them to know that fatherhood is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, which is to say that they are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
The more experience I gain as a father, the more convinced I am that fatherhood is all about self-sacrificial service and brave leadership of a family. So, when my family asked me what I wanted to do for Father’s Day, I just said that I wanted to spend time with them. I had no interest in a new tie or a special activity that appeals only to me. I just wanted to keep doing what I always do. I just wanted to enjoy quality time spent with those I love the most, the very same people who transformed me from a guy into a father. Best Father’s Day ever!