It’s almost Father’s Day, so naturally I was planning to create a list of great children’s books about dads. Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen are two books that celebrate the special relationship between father and child. These two stand out for their award-winning illustration, and I certainly recommend them. But, when I was considering The 10 Best Things About My Dad by Christine Loomis for my list, I realized this post wasn’t going to be a list of books for Father’s Day. There are plenty of book lists out there already.
Instead, this post is about nurturing the bond between father and child and about letting our fathers know how much we love them.
Father’s Day is a great time to think about creating special rituals, like the one in Every Friday. Maybe you already have one, such as reading before bedtime or going to the park on Saturdays to throw a ball around. These moments that you give to your child create a sense of stability and strengthen your relationship. If you take a second to be in the present moment, you may see just how important these times are to you, too.
So, you’re still trying to think of a gift that your young child can give for Father’s Day? What better gift would there be for a father than a personal list from his child that mirrors the one in The 10 Best Things About My Dad? Golf clubs, you say? Sorry, this isn’t about material gifts. Dad needs to know he is loved, whether he admits it or not. And young children need ways of expressing themselves, just like adults. Why not help your child make a list, and then make one of your own for your dad?
For me, this Father’s Day is an oddly special one. It’s the first one without my dad, who passed away in January. In his honor, here is my list of the 10 best things about my dad.
- Dad loved his family. It was obvious that my parents loved each other. They treated each other with respect, and they treated their kids the same way. They had nine children, and we were lucky to have a father who made us feel like we were more important than anything else.
- Dad loved all children, not just his own. He believed in the potential of kids and, together with my mom, was involved in activities that were geared toward helping them grow, like the church youth group.
- Dad loved people. His kindness and generosity came across when he spoke to people. And he often thought and talked about others with empathy and a caring heart.
- Dad had a soothing voice. It was an understanding voice. More than one of us kids had a school friend or two that liked to come around to listen to him talk and to be around his fatherly presence.
- Dad loved to tell stories about his family history. He would talk about how his father came from Germany as a boy to work on a relative’s farm. He would tell of how his father ended up owning the farm where we all grew up. Hearing these stories always gave me a sense of connection to the people I came from.
- Dad loved music. His face would light up when he heard a favorite song. Johnny Cash, The Kingston Trio, Pavarotti, Alison Krauss. The list of his favorites is endless, because any good song brought him joy. It’s a feeling I share, and I always felt connected to him because of it.
- Dad worked hard. He was a farmer. That’s no nine-to-five job. That’s early mornings and late nights. It’s not only physical labor, but having the smarts and integrity to run your own business.
- Dad hung on to his sense of wonder. Late in life, after he retired, he took up gardening. Every winter he would start to peruse the seed catalogs, looking at all of the beautiful flowers and fun new vegetables. Planning out the garden was a way to make the dead of winter bearable. One of his favorite moments, though, was when the seedlings started to sprout up through the dirt. He saw it for the miracle that it is. Something that we, mere humans, have no control over, even though we do our best and do our part by planting the seeds and nurturing them.
- Dad was grateful for everything he was given. He rarely complained. He, like the rest of us, had stuff to grumble about, but he didn’t put those worries on us or anyone else. He chose to be positive and do his best when facing adversity, which is a lesson I still aspire to learn completely.
- Finally, for my number 10, I simply must steal the final line from The 10 Best Things About My Dad. “My dad is extra special – just because he’s mine!”
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