Ok. Honest Truth: When my wife asked if I would like to do a guest blog for Father’s Day, my first instinct was to roll my eyes. Is this how I am going to spend my morning? Writing a blog post? Seriously? It’s Father’s Day! Shouldn’t I be able to wake up when I want, watch the game, drink my favorite beer and just relax? I run my own business and I’m pretty much glued to a laptop or phone seven days a week. I’d rather be reading the Steve Jobs book that came in the mail yesterday. However, I’m going to briefly step out of my comfort zone this morning and write a little something. To me, part of striving to be a better father is being a better husband and I know how much this means to my wife, so here it goes! Maybe I’ll learn a little something too.
I don’t know who my biological father is. I was adopted at about 4 weeks of age by my parents and I only have a little bit of volunteered information about my biological parents’ background. I know that they were very young when they conceived me and like many teenage parents, were unprepared to care for a baby. My biological father was a drug addict and from what I can tell, not the most responsible individual. He disappeared after learning of the pregnancy and didn’t even show up to sign the adoption papers.
Whenever the topic of adoption comes up in conversation, I’m often asked if I have a desire to seek out my birth parents. I’ve now come to know several people who were adopted and have sought out their biological parents, all with different outcomes. Some favorable, some not. Of course there is always a little curious voice in my head that wonders what it would be like to meet them, but my answer is always a resounding “no.” I honestly have no desire to find them. Two strangers who may resemble me in looks, but not in spirit or values? What’s the point? My real Mom and Dad are the ones who showed me unconditional love and taught me the values of hard-work, loyalty, dedication and respect for other people.
I always speak to others about how amazing my Dad is and I probably don’t tell him enough how much I appreciate him or how much I feel blessed that the stars aligned the way they did. In my eyes, I only have one Dad. One amazing, incredible Dad.
When I was a kid, my dad worked very long hours as a construction worker. His commute was about an hour and a half each way so he would wake up around 4:30 in the morning, read the paper, have his coffee and hit the road. He worked a long, hard shift but would always come home in time for dinner. We ate every single dinner together as a family and my dad was always present with us. As tired as he’d be after a grueling day of manual labor, he always spent quality time with us and showed us his love and affection.
Dad was always a very “hands-on” type of father. On weekends, we’d go fishing or camping, or he’d be taking me to my soccer or baseball games, cheering me on (though I was always terrible at sports). He taught me how to drive a nail, use a grill, mow the lawn, throw a football, among countless other things. But thinking back now, it wasn’t “what” he taught me that has stuck with me all these years. It’s “how” he taught me. The love, patience, and attention he afforded me was what made all the difference and helped shape the man I am today.
But, times are changing. The type of family environment I grew up in is an anomaly in today’s American life. To make it today in this economy, both parents are working, and some Dads are working double-time just to make ends meet. It’s indeed a rapidly changing world where information, media and technology are king. The odds are stacked against our quality family time even more so than in our parent’s generation. It’s a problem when we pay more attention to our mobile devices than our kids and the stresses of daily life are breaking families apart. It just means we have to try even harder.
I know we can’t all be Super Dad 100% of the time. We all fall short. What we need to ask ourselves as Dads is “what really matters?” My Dad just knew what mattered when it came to raising me and my brother. To me, this Father’s Day isn’t going to be about me just sitting back, relaxing and being appreciated as a Dad. I’m always appreciated, whether I realize it or not. Today is about me appreciating my son, wife, parents and all of the blessings that come along with the privilege of being a Dad. If I can give my son even a fraction of the love and care my Dad showed me, I’ll be doing pretty good.