Appreciate fathers — and father figures — who do the dad thing right

The following editorial appeared in The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on June 19:

Not every dad does an acceptable job at parenting.

There are guys who desert, and others who hang around but inflict such hurt it would be better if they left.

This editorial is not about those dads, the unfortunate duds. It’s about all of the fathers — and father figures — who get it right most of the time, who never stop trying to improve, who seemingly always put family first, who set the right example, who deserve to be appreciated daily and celebrated on Sunday, Father’s Day.

These dads don’t hit. Their hands change diapers, haul groceries, push mowers, pull sleds and catch bodies catapulting off the bottom of the sliding board. They point to the big words, sounding them out slowly, while reading aloud those first storybooks. They hold hands for crossing the street safely, or sometimes just because. They plant seeds. They brush away tears. They hug. They hold tight until they know it’s time to let go, and then, reluctantly, they do.

These dads don’t pitch fits. They pitch tents and paddle kayaks. They play catch until dusk and hide-and-seek even after it gets dark and the yard blinks with fireflies. They help with homework, including science. They celebrate each little success and soothe the defeats. They demonstrate how to change a flat tire and balance a checkbook. They are generous with their money and their time. They set rules and expectations. They discipline fairly and forgive fully. Sometimes, they wink and look the other way. When a child gets overburdened, physically or emotionally, these dads carry the load. They can make lifting look easy.

These dads faithfully show up. They attend soccer games, dance recitals or Scout events, and sometimes all of those and more. They exhibit patience and practice what they preach. They tell funny jokes. They impart advice when it’s asked for. They teach character not by explaining it but living it. They listen well. They say, “I love you.”

They leave a gentle and lasting imprint on a child’s life.

If you know a top-notch dad, cherish him.

And tell him thanks — from all of us.


(c)2015 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

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