Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Here’s to all good fathers

June 11, 2008

Father's Day is fast approaching with all the stores trumpeting their products, which are guaranteed to make dear old Dad ecstatic. Sadly, the sales seem to be accompanied by record-high gasoline prices, so those who wish to take advantage of the sales had better plan their shopping trips carefully or driving about from store to store will suck all the cash out of their purses so that nothing is left in the budget for a gift.

If one is a small child, then a simple homemade card should be enough for Father. If the parent is in the senior category, then a visit and a meal together should be sufficient.

To my way of thinking, there is nothing as precious as the gift of time and caring.

Many fathers today are different from the fathers of yesterday. The best ones seem to share in childcare duties, changing a diaper or soothing hurt feelings. With a good many mothers involved in the workforce, time with children is precious. With all the things to get done in the hours after work, a father who is willing to share in household and child care duties is indeed a jewel beyond compare.

I know a number of young men who fit this mold, both in my family and among acquaintances. My son, a busy doctor, drills his son on spelling words, cooks many of the meals and helps vacuum the house. My son-in-law helps take care of his toddler daughter, helps with the housework and the ironing. Neither scorns household work or childcare duties. Their wives both work outside the home at demanding jobs, so each feels the need to pitch in and help with home duties.

My husband, Charles, is and was a good father, but he is a totally exemplary grandfather. He loves his grandchildren without limits. He has been known to make many runs to school to take or pick up something his 12-year old grandson Paul needs. Charles is patient when Paul sometimes gets a little too demanding or wants to do something that makes a really big mess. Charles takes Paul to golf lessons and to music lessons. He loves all of his grandchildren, including 22-month-old Charlotte, nearly 4-year-old Lena and nearly 7-year-old Owen.

When we visited our Portland grandchildren, Charles went to soccer games and swim practice, camera in hand. He likes to read and joke with his grandchildren, and they like to joke with him. Most of all, he really loves them and they know it.

This Sunday is set aside to recognize the importance of fathers in a child's life. I hope those children with absent or abusive fathers can overcome the disharmony that comes about in a child's life with such a parent. Every time I read about a child hurt or killed by a parent I shudder. And, at the same time, I wonder about the children who are not injured enough to seek help, but who still suffer the scars to the psyche. We all need to, as a society, educate and help those individuals - both the abusers and the abused.

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