by Annalise Jarman
Father’s Day is Sunday, and I’d like to take this opportunity to write about my own father. My dad is quiet, studious, and detail-oriented. He can come across as pretty serious and stern. He likes things a certain way. So he might not sound like the type that would do well with kids, but I think he did pretty good, actually. That’s partially because along with all those other characteristics, my dad has a big heart.
I will admit that when I was young my dad was intimidating to me. My mom didn’t like to be very strict, so it was usually my dad who would march into the living room on Saturday morning, turn off the TV (in the middle of an episode!) and tell us it was time to do our chores. And, as you might guess, my mom would send us to him for discipline when she didn’t know what to do with us anymore.
But then there was that time when I was in sixth grade, and I brought home a couple of C’s on my report card. I was sure I was dead meat when my dad found out. He surprised me when he just shrugged and said, “Well, as long as you are doing your best”.
Around that same time, I started running on the junior high cross-country and track teams. My dad ran with me sometimes on the weekends and over the summer. It was time with just the two of us together. I saw his goofier side, and I quickly learned that while my dad did have high standards and firm-set expectations, there was no reason to be afraid of him. He cared deeply about myself and my siblings and, as he told us now and then, it was his family that brought him the most joy in his life. I came to realize during this time that everything my dad did – from turning off that tv, to lecturing us, to grounding us – he did because he cared about us and wanted us to lead happy, functional lives.
When it came to my teenage years, I needed my dad. I needed his calm reassurance, his clear moral reasoning, and his love and support. He was a mentor for me. I’m so glad he took time to build a relationship with me and earn my trust before and during those difficult years.
I am so grateful for my dad and everything he has done for me. I’m grateful he taught me discipline starting when I was young, taught me the importance of compassion and integrity as I grew older, and most of all, I am grateful to him for showing me what a man with a good heart looks like.
I know dads everywhere are different. Each has different gifts and different challenges. But as we celebrate dads this Sunday, I just want to remind dads everywhere that you are important to your kids, and that you too can be an example and a mentor for them.
Thanks, dads, for all the good things you do for your children! We are so grateful for you! Happy Father’s Day!