On Father’s Day, I’d like to share with you an image that my daughter gave me a while ago. She said that when she was a toddler, she thought she was really strong because she could push open some really heavy doors. She learned later that I was standing behind her and reaching over her head to help her push.
Thats what daddies do, isn’t it? We help our children to do what they have to do. Sometimes we do it out in the open and sometimes, as in opening those big, heavy doors, we do it behind their backs, or over their heads, or both. Sometimes, we have to resist temptation and do it for them. We have to let them do it for themselves, so they can grow up. My in-laws, who were wonderful people and treated me better than my blood relatives did, had one characteristic that drove me crazy. They treated my wife and me less like adults than I would like. If we lived with them it would have been unbearable, but we didn’t, so it’s really not much of a complaint, is it?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could pass along to your children those characteristics you admire in yourself and to keep them from getting any of your shortcomings? If you have a tendency toward depression, you’d love to keep your children from suffering the same thing. If you’re tall and heavy, it would be great to pass along the tall, but not the heavy; the good teeth and not the bad eyesight. We can’t do that, of course, but it’s still rewarding to see and hear ourselves in our children and it’s even better to see them accomplish more than you did, by beginning their lives standing on your shoulders, while you stand on the shoulders of your father and mother.
My son pulled a few things that reflected to me what I did to help his mother raise him. When he was a child, I often said to him, “If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.” I smiled the first time I heard him say, “What I was doing wasn’t working, so I figured I’d try something else.” When he moved to California, he tried to call his girlfriend and she had turned her cell phone off. He said, “I asked her to leave it on. She never listens.” I replied, “Funny, I feel the same way about you.”
My father didn’t even go to high school. He wasn’t stupid by any means. His father died when he was 10 years old and when he was 13 and graduated from eighth grade, he dropped out of school to support his mother, brothers and sisters. My sister and I received Master’s Degrees on the same day. My son graduated from law school. My sister’s daughter is going into her junior year at an Ivy League university. So, if your children turned out at least as good as mine did, wish yourself a happy Father’s Day and if they didn’t, blame it on them, not you.