Father’s Day

Before I start writing this next piece, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have responded with such kindness and encouragement to my last entry. I’m happy to report that the clouds have lifted from my horizon, and the opportunity to do something for another has again proved to be the best medicine for my temporary melancholy. Knowing that there are so many willing to offer comfort and hope in times of need has also been excellent medicine. Again, my gratitude to you all.

 

FATHER’S DAY

 

I knew that Father’s Day was a relatively recent invention, but I hadn’t appreciated just how much until a little research uncovered the following facts: The idea is credited to Sonora Dodd, who on hearing a sermon on Mother’s day in 1909 wanted a special day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran who raised his children while working as a single parent. It wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day, and not until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed the law which made this a permanent day of celebration.

 

Anne Sexton wrote in one of her books, “It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” I doubt any of us have a very objective assessment of our fathers. As young children, we need them to be strong, protective figures of power in our lives. As adults, we all struggle to reassemble our childhood vision with the necessarily flawed (but at least in my case, always loving) man looking back at us, against whose authority we need to assert our own individual identities.

 

Fatherhood has gotten the short shrift in our society, and perhaps that is because the role that our culture had created for fathers was not always a very sympathetic one. The stern, often cold, and authoritarian figures depicted in Victorian times mixed with the more recent portraits of men siring then abandoning their offspring may in part be responsible for this phenomenon. I agree that this day ought to celebrate not each man who managed to procreate, but those who have actually done their best at being good fathers.

 

I’ve written well deserved tributes to my father in this Space before, and I miss his presence in my life on this day, along with the other 364 in the year. Being a father myself now, I have gained a much deeper respect for how difficult and challenging this role can be, as well as how rewarding. I confess that I’ve fallen short on many of the skills fathers are expected to pass on to their sons. My athletic pretensions have been limited, and I’m grateful that my son at least has learned to like hiking and skiing with me. I don’t know how to fix cars, track a deer, or perform home repair without requiring medical attention. Needless to say, my son has been left bereft in these departments. I’m less than enthused about facing danger, and work hard at avoiding confrontation. I’m not the ideal role model of the dads I used to see depicted in Boy’s Life. Despite my many shortcomings, I somehow managed to produce a son who to all appearances has a strong moral core and a kind heart, though he probably would not rate high on aggression, competitiveness or some of the other “manly” traits. I can pride myself on the fact that he’s become independent, self supporting, and happy with the choices he’s made in his life. In this respect, I can answer the question that I asked on this day, “What makes a good father?” My son.

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24 Responses to Father’s Day

  1. Michelle says:

    Happy Father\’s Day to you early! I think you must be a wonderful Father. I feel quite sure that you have passed onto your son your kindness, compassion, and a strong sense of what is right but also the ability to see the world with an open mind.
     
    Truly the so-called "manly" traits are over-rated…especially aggression and competitiveness. They can be quite ugly really if they get out of hand.
     
    I am glad you are feeling better. 😉
     
    http://www.alabamagal.blogspot.com
    http://www.ponderpoint.blogspot.com
     
    -Michelle

  2. Bittersweet on-the-hill. says:

    Hello Jorge,
    I just read todays entry and your most recent on loss.  I hope your heart heals and that the scares fade soon. The poem, "Hard April Days" was touching and beautifully written. Her words were such that I felt I\’d like to read more of her work so thank you for the introduction.
     
    And Happy Father\’s Day. A lovely tribute to your son and to yourself.  May you enjoy the day.  Take care.  Bittersweet

  3. Deirdre says:

    What an awesome entry.  I hope your son appreciates you for the wonderful person you are.  I always thought I was a bad mother because of the way my life turned out, and because of some of the things that have happened to my son as a result.  But I was recently proved wrong.  My son told me I was  the best mom in the world.  I guess I\’m writing this to say that we are often much harder on ourselves than our children are on us.  And as far as parenting goes, we do the best with what we have, and we leave the rest to God.
     
    Happy Father\’s Day, Jorge.
     
    D

  4. g says:

    Happy Father\’s Day. This was a good entry.
     
    g.j.

  5. redvelvet says:

    Happy Father\’s Day… thanks for the comment… I would very much like to read your poem… Seems like lately I am dealing with loneliness and regret… not wallowing in it… but the reality of life & death often weighs on my mind… just growing older I guess… thanks for dropping by… hugs…

  6. Vonnie says:

    Aww, that was a very endearing entry, my friend. I am sure that by all accounts, you were everything (and are) a child could ask for in a father. It\’s not about what you can do, it\’s how how you love. There\’s no doubt in my mind that you provided more than enough love to your son. 🙂 Happy Father\’s Day, sweet Jorge. x (And what\’dya mean, push over?) LoL  Okay fine, I\’m a push over. 😉

  7. Lakota Clay says:

    Very well done, Jorge.  And a fitting tribute to ALL three generations!  LG

  8. Gayle says:

    Nice entry.  Fathers are very special people and I think it is not your judgment (or anyone else\’s, for that matter) of your ability but the effort, care and Love that you put into being a father.  For who can predict the outcomes?  We only control the inputs.Happy Father\’s Day, Jorge.Gayle

  9. Bittersweet on-the-hill. says:

    Jorge……
    I was just watching "Sunday Morning" and they did a segment on how much sugar we eat. The average American eats 2 and a half pounds of sugar a week or about 160 pounds of sugar a year.  How\’s that for throwing you on your backside……a big backside at that.  Happy Father\’s Day again.  I am watching how much sugar goes on the strawberries.   Yes I am!   Bittersweet.

  10. Gelert says:

    I posted this in hard april instead, so am repeating it here.
     
    Gelert

    What is a father Jorge? And who defines what you should be and what you should know? In England, hunting deer is not on the list, in other parts perhaps other things are, that you have not mentioned. Society says \’be this\’, \’do that\’ in order to fulfill some strangely defined definition of what hangs (or does not) between your legs.
     
    I missed my father today too, and thought of others soon to miss theirs, or fathers without their families. All I ever wanted from mine was acceptance of who I am, and what I am, with no sense of not letting him down, or not measuring up. Sure as a child I was quick to see where he let me down, but quicker to see where I failed him.
     
    Just be what you are – and let your children be what they are. Let them remember you as somewhere that was \’love\’ . Love in the end, is all we have, even when our own failures mean we cannot give it as we wish.  Happy Father\’s Day Jorge.

  11. Unknown says:

    Hi Jorge,
    Although I’m a little late I do want to wish you and your family a Happy Father’s Day too!  I enjoyed reading your entry, and based on what you said I think you’ve been a very good father for your son.  In my opinion, a “strong moral code and a kind heart” are certainly two of the most important values any parent can share with their children.  Thanks so much for your visits and comments, and I’m glad you’re feeling better.  Have a wonderful week!  Take care.  Danele

  12. Betty says:

    Hi Jorge,
     
    So sorry to hear that you are suffering disappointment and are depressed.  You sound better today, though.
     
    The poem in remembrance of your dad is lovely.  I never thought about loss very much until lately.  I think, though, that I\’ given it al l I\’m willing to give so I\’m offin anoher direction.
     
    I hope your Fathers Day was good.
     
    Betty

  13. Rama says:

    Hi Jorge, we all do our best in performing our duties to the best of our abilities, and that\’ s what counts. Happy Fathers day.

  14. Marge says:

    Hi, Jorge!
    First of all, it\’s wonderful that the clouds have broken and the sun is smiling through again; the human spirit can not thrive for long in shade; we constantly long for and reach toward the light. I\’m thankful you found yours once again.
    Thank you for this beautiful reflection upon Fathers Day, Jorge. Truly, you were blessed to have a family in your life. Not only is your son fortunate to have you there, you are fortunate to have him, too.
    Bless you, my friend.
    Always,
    Marge (and Teddy, too…)

  15. barbara says:

    I agree so very much with your statement… "to celebrate not each man who managed to procreate, but those who have actually done their best at being good fathers." It is a testiment to you that you celebrate father\’s day. Not all men can handle that celebration without feeling uncomfortable.

  16. Edith says:

    What a great blog!  Very sensitive and so nice to attribute a good father to the offspring… but you always speak so highly of your son, no matter what time of the year it is.  Happy Father\’s Day! (belated)

  17. LORI says:

    Hello Jorge,
     
    It\’s such a pleasure to have visited your space. Thank you for visiting me too. PLEASE COME BACK and sign my guestbook!???
     
    Yes, helping others is the only really true way to feel good… I agree. There is no other permanent solution.
     
    Happy Father\’s Day!
     
    Take care,
     
    Love, Lori

  18. Deborah says:

    You are an awesome person, a favorite blogger of mine, and too, too kind for words.  Hope you had a wonderful Father\’s Day.
    Blessed be,

  19. LORI says:

    Hello Jorge!
     
    Thank you, thank you for your kind words. My blog is a better place now… REALLY!
     
    You have enhanced it.
     
    Love it too.
     
    Bye, Lori

  20. sweeti's says:

    WOW  Amen…..Proud dad…..WHat more can i say….????
    Ur son has a kind heart   .hmmmmm thats the best u can have…..dont u think????
    He must have it from u….
    I miss my dad   He died of cancer….years ago…a very painfull dead ….Horriible  to see ur  loved ones in pain.
    But he   Me smiling again……..!!!!! 
    wow  Proud dad   ….hhmmmmmm I read between the lines Jorge
     
     

  21. Cheryl says:

    That was a great post….I loved the last sentence…“What makes a good father?” My son.
    We have all had our shortcommings as parents and most likely our children are stronger for it… 
    Thank you for offering to help our organization.  Here is the link to our web site that my son in law has put together for us….
     
    http://www.santamariahostel.org/
     
    Cheryl

  22. SANDRA says:

    Jorge, my Dear Friend…I love what you had to say about what makes a good Father?  My Son……  what a perfect statement of love!!!
    I am glad you are back …Grief is so hard to go through…I know.  The support..the love..the friendship that you have received from those of us who care about you is testimony to what a great person you are Jorge.  I, for one, am glad that I have met you in this blog world.  Always…Sandra

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