With so many things going on in our community, I neglected to say “Happy Father’s Day” in my Chatterbox column on Tuesday. How could I forget? Blame the aging brain matter.
I love fathers. Mine was a great dad and grandpa until he died at the age of 67. He would really have enjoyed the great-grandchildren now and I still keep the candy jar full for every child who wanders in, just as he did. A blue-collar Bethlehem Steelworker who also delivered sides of beef and parked cars to make ends meet, my Dad was a man of few words (I got the chatty gene from my Mom) but what he had to say was always important. I miss him and I strive each day to make him proud.
While we each only have one real, biological father, there are many men out there who step in to take on the business of fathering our children, all of them, and it should be theirs day, too. There are adoptive fathers, men who think parenthood is so precious that they seek out a child in need of love and stability. There are stepfathers who take on a lot of extra baggage, especially in this world of blended families, and genuinely try to be nurturing. Father Jim at St. Pats may never have married but he has lots of little children in the parish who adore him, and grown-up kids who look to him for advice and comfort. We can’t forget the coaches of every imaginable sport, or the scout and youth group leaders who help to build the character of our kids. Teachers, too! For every crummy one, there are hundreds who go the extra mile to inspire and motivate our children beyond the class curriculum.
Think about the neighbor who taught your son to fish or helped your daughter deliver girl scout cookies. Many people who may have no kids of their own care deeply about helping to raise the next generation to be good and honorable people. Let’s hear it for the uncles, cousins, brothers, neighbors, coaches, teachers, leaders and others who really care about kids! With all the poor examples being displayed by celebrity and sports figures, our children need positive role models who really believe in them and their future! That’s what fatherhood is about.