It is June. Notable for the official start of summer, hurricane season (for those of us, like me, based in South Florida) and of course, Father’s Day. Like many dads, I am both a father and a son, roles that are intimately intertwined. We are all someone’s children, and as such we assume that who we are and who we become is influenced by our parents. As a guy, it is normal to let that assumption lean toward the influence of a father. However, I think truly understanding your own father and his subtle (or not so subtle) impact on your being may not occur until you have children of your own. Perhaps the best way to understand the unique perspectives of your own dad is to become a dad yourself.
Apple, Meet Tree…
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and all of us have our individual experiences and relationships with our father’s, so I don’t profess to speak for all sons and dads. Speaking for myself, however, as I enter my 23rd year as a father, and more than twice as many years as a son, I am continually surprised by the countless ways I see my father in myself as I play my part as a father to my kids. Similarly, I am equally intrigued and amazed at how often I see myself in my kids, in the ways they relate to me as their dad. While my kids are growing up in a different world and different circumstances than I did, and many things about their lives and relationships are completely alien to what my childhood experiences were, there are still many sometimes startling moments of parental clarity when I can’t help but see behaviour that is a blatant example of a family cycle continuing – from my grandparents, to my parents, to myself and my sister, and to our respective children. I am frequently (and happily) reminded that indeed the apple does not fall far from the tree.
The Real Father’s Day Gift
As a dad, I already know what every father really wants for Father’s Day. It is not a tie, or cologne, or a new gadget, or even a hand-drawn card. It is simply the love of happy and caring children, and the amazing sense of pride that results from seeing them thrive. Pride is the ultimate Father’s Day gift, to be given to dads of all ages, by kids of all ages. Whether you are 6 or 60, your dad wants to be proud of you, and you can find joy in making your dad proud. As we prepare for this coming Father’s Day, the best gift we can give our dad is to be the best sons and daughters we can. The best gift my kids can give me is to continue to be the wonderful children they are. The love and pride they already provide makes every day a happy Father’s Day.
Do you agree, or would you rather just get that new tie?
ï»¿Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 19). Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. Â You can see more of Jeffâ€™s writing atÂ Sassholes! andÂ Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on theÂ Cast of Dads podcast.
Photo Credit:Â Andy Dean – Fotolia.com