Friday, May 31, 2013

Lesson 19- Be a Dad

A kid needs five minutes of your time

 “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope”. ~Bill Cosby

And this is no joke. Poor fathers. This is their fate.  With few shopping days left till Father’s Day, I am compelled to share better gift ideas with you. And give you some things to think about.

My friends in the gift industry tell me this- there is Mother’s Day and then every other holiday. Except Father’s Day. Father’s Day is so low on the sales chart; even retailers don’t care about it.

My husband and I recently laughed at Father’s Day gifts we remembered. There were tons. From batteries, peanuts and hot sauce. To flashlights and socks.  Our favorite was a walking salt and pepper shaker our kids gave my father.

It’s hard to say if too little or too much thought is put into the buying of Dad gifts. But I think we can all agree- it’s mostly their fault.

They get what they get. And they don’t throw a fit. 

It's another reason we love them. These gifts and their straight faces are a testament to how easily they love us. I once made an ashtray for my dad out of a piece of furniture from my Barbie Dream House. He loved it. 
Seriously. Think of the worst gift you ever gave your dad. Then ask yourself how it affected your relationship. Did he think less of you after that?  Hint- he didn’t.

Here's something to think about...

Roughly four million men become fathers in the USA every year. That’s the number of babies born.  Of these men, hundreds of thousands are never involved in that child’s life. Every day fewer men are choosing the role of father. How sad. 

It takes so little to be one.

My husband (whom I call Biker Mike, even though he asks me not to) says that if dads knew how easy the job was, more of them would be dads. Showing up. That’s what being a father is about. Showing up with a smile on your face is all it takes to convince a child you care. 


Compared to a mother’s job, Biker Mike says being a dad is the easiest job ever.  And he should know. Because he never planned to have children, then he married me. And I had two, already.  Feeling comfortable with parenting took a few years. But finding joy in those kids, Biker Mike says, was instant.

Meantime, there are thousands of men wanting to be fathers. 

Please don’t give up. While you dream about becoming a father, be there for some child who could really use an extra role model. Every day, groups like Big Brothers and Sisters, CASA and scouts are looking for volunteers. Give up your time and open your heart. Be a friend. Be an uncle. Just be there. Some child will be better for it.


Last year I was with my granddaughter (Valerie Fields) when she shopped for her dad.

With her own money she chose a ballpoint pen, a refrigerator magnet and a garish plastic key chain. Everything she could see with the inscription “Number one Dad”. If he didn’t know his place before, surely he would after this.

The next afternoon Valerie Fields helped her dad work on her mother’s car. You should have seen the huge smile on her grease-marked face, my daughter told me.  I had. Every time her father called her ‘Munchkin’. Or lifted her high off the ground and twirled her in the air.  How hard he works for her adoration.

Today marks six years since the last time I saw my dad’s face. And I still remember how he loved me.

I remember the first time he stopped reading to me at bedtime and leaned back to listen as I read to him. I remember the day he let go of my bike and I didn’t fall. The smile on his face when I showed him my first college course schedule. His belief in me is what I remember most. 

So when a dad says that he loves soap-on-a-rope, what he means is he loves that you bought it for him.  (And he will never hold that against you.)

Thanks, Dad






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