Many people have heard the expression, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” As Father’s Day approaches, someone might ask, “What is the greatest gift children can give their father?” Let me share a few thoughts that might help your children decide what they can do to make this Father’s Day special.
While there are many gifts children can buy for their fathers, most dads (as well as moms) treasure “home made” gifts that their children create themselves. How often will children, in going through their parents’ effects after they die, discover small personalized gifts that their parents saved and treasured from their children? A hand made gift can be as simple as a heartfelt note written in a card. Hence, you might wish to remind your children that the deep personal sentiments of love, gratitude and respect they express in their own words might be far more appreciated than the most expensive or elaborate of gifts they can buy.
What if a father is deployed and won’t be able to spend Father’s Day with his family? Dads whose military service precludes them from being home on Father’s Day want to be sure that their families are safe and well. In addition to sending their father a gift, kids may also wish to let dad know through emails, letters or cards that they are behaving at home, growing in various respects during his absence, and avoiding things that could hurt them. While it’s hard enough to be deployed, possibly “in harms way,” the security a father feels in learning that his separation is not having a deleterious affect upon his children is appreciated far more than most kids can ever imagine.
Just as fathers want to be proud of their children, they also want their children to be proud of them. Kids can do this by letting their fathers know that they are proud of their military service. One son wrote his father in Iraq: “Dear Dad, Mom. Danny, and I miss you big time, but we know that you are trying to make the world a safer place for us and for the people in Iraq. When I grow up, I hope I will have the courage to put my life on the line for others like you do. I just want you to know how very proud I am of you, and I can’t wait for you to come home. I love you, Bill.”
It is a sad fact that there are children who will not be able to celebrate Father’s Day this year with their dads, some of whom were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is so important that these children be given an opportunity to remember their dads and be grateful for all the “good times” they shared together. Looking at family pictures, visiting their father’s grave, and saying prayers can help assuage their grief and keep alive the memory of a dad who, in some cases, was “a hero proved in liberating strife, who more than self his country loved, and mercy more than life.”
There are children who, for various reasons, are estranged from their fathers. One such son never spoke with his dad for years but, upon learning of his father’s passing, did attend his funeral. When a volley of shorts were fired at the gravesite followed by the playing of “Taps,” the son wept, deeply regretting that it was too late to reconcile himself with his father. Your father may not be perfect, and like most dads, he probably made some mistakes in his life that he wishes he could change, but it is Father’s Day, and here’s your chance to let him know, “I Iove you, Dad.”