As the father of three truly spectacular children and grandfather of two magnificent granddaughters, I relish the annual marker of “Father’s Day.”
This special day represents a lot for me, as I’m hoping it does for all of the loving, dedicated fathers who are celebrated by their offspring and partners on this occasion. It’s difficult for me to prioritize what I find most meaningful and awe-inspiring about this day. However, I can readily say that the least thrilling for me, yet what I still really appreciate, is the material gifts that I receive. Since I love wearing bedroom slippers, I look forward to receiving a new pair from my oldest daughter each year. My wife is consistently generous with gifts to me—sometimes to a fault.
Now, for the ineffably beautiful “stuff.” I am profoundly humbled by the high honor and privilege of being a father and grandfather to these five incredible beings. My heart prostrates before G-d. Of course, I am delighted that each of my adult children love and celebrate me.
Clearly, I realize that what fills me even more is the overwhelming love and joy I feel for each of them! Each, in her (one “his”) distinct way, is such a shining manifestation of G-d’s grandeur. I could shed a river of joyful tears, but for now my eyes are dry and my heart swells with exuberance.
As Father’s Day approaches each year, I find myself reflecting a lot on my progress as a devoted and “good” father, as well as examining ways that I would like to become a “better” one. My kids have always offered me plenty of positive affirmations and feedback about how they’d like me to improve. I validate most of their perceptions, both pro and con, while adding my own aspirations to the list. As a therapist, I often tell clients who are parents that their kids generally serve as clear mirrors for them. Sometimes quite painfully, I have used my kids’ comments to catalyze my own character enhancements. My greatest teacher has been my youngest child, with whom I often clashed during her youth and teen years. As difficult as our relationship was for both of us, I have always recognized her beauty (inside and out) and her deep soulfulness. We have chosen to forgive each other for a lot. She has emerged into a sterling young adult and I’m so grateful (and relieved) that we have become close in recent years.
Wishing all of you dear fathers a glorious day of absorbing tributes, and more importantly, a time to use the opportunity to rigorously assess your fatherhood.