Monday, June 16, 2008

Celebrating Fathers

Yesterday was Father's Day in the USA. It is a day set aside to celebrate the men in our lives and their very important role in the molding of our children and our society.

I love that we have days like Father's day. I don't think people take these sorts of holidays seriously enough sometimes. We shouldn't need to be reminded to appreciate one another... but somehow, we seem to need reminding!

I wish we celebrated fathers and mothers (and grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, etc.) each and every day. The nurturing, guiding and loving of our children is the most important thing that we, as a species will ever do.

Children are indeed the future, and without the guidance and nurturing given by those who love them, they cannot possibly fulfil their potential and take on the world when their turn comes.

Fathers have such power in the lives of their children. Fathers teach their kids what it means to be a man. For better or worse, the imprints left by our fathers stay with us for our entire lives. The imprint can be positive, empowering and motivating, or it can be destructive. Of course there is a continuum there, and since there are no perfect fathers, for most of us the imprint is a blending of positive and negative.

My own father taught me a lot about making my own way in the world, as well as how to have fun along the way. He had a great sense of humor and everyone loved to be around him. I think one of the most important lessons he taught me was how to be generous... and to always think the best of people. At times I've been hurt by doing this, but I still believe it is the best way to live life. I appreciate my dad for instilling this quality in me.

When I was away at college, my dad would send me funny comic strips, little notes, and dollar bills in the mail - almost every week. It meant so much to know that even though I was away from home, he was still thinking of me, caring about me... supporting me as I stretched my wings and flew into a new life. Somehow just knowing he was there... gave me strength to face the challenges of my life and forge ahead.

Father's day always makes me miss my dad. He passed away in 1997. I seem to miss him more with each passing year.

On one of his last father's days I gave him a card that had a portion (the bolded section) of the following quote by Kahlil Gibran on it:

"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and he bends you with his might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."

I love this quote as a way to describe the role of parent's in a child's life. It rang particularly true to me about my own father in my life. He was a stable constant, and his sacrifices and life's work launched me into the life that I currently enjoy.

In honor of all Fathers everywhere... Happy Father's Day! Make sure you appreciate your dad... and any other men in your life who are fathers to our collective human family.

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