For many years at NCF, spring gave us opportunities to recognize deserving kids and dads as part of our Father of the Year Essay Contests. We selected winning essays written by kids in four markets around the country, and then chose dads to be honored as finalists and Fathers of the Year.

foy-5th-grade-daughter-and-dadEach year, we were reminded just how much fathers mean to their children, and kids often had priceless ways of capturing that. Here are two examples from essays written by kids who both happened to be 5th graders:

Serena wrote, “Did you know that a hero doesn’t need to have super powers or fancy underwear? Well, they don’t. My dad is my hero and he definitely doesn’t have fancy underwear, or super powers for that matter! But he is brave and I won’t say he is not strong, but he is stronger in the heart. I guess that’s why I think my dad is my hero.”

And here’s what Max wrote: “You think your dad is awesome? My dad can catch a football 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 yards away. Well, maybe it’s just 35 yards. He still rocks!

On Father’s Day, maybe your children will honor you with sentiments like that. But please don’t forget that you’re also a son, and you can do something similar for your dad (or a significant father figure) this year. How can you do that? Gifts, cards and phone calls are always appreciated. May we suggest that you also consider a written tribute to your dad?

It can be sentimental or funny, a poem or a simple note of thanks. We’re giving you plenty of notice on this, so carve out some time soon to start thinking about why you appreciate your dad: memories together; his characteristics and virtues; how he invested in you, sacrificed for you, and made you a better person. Make a long list, then write him a note in time for Father’s Day or give it to him as soon as you finish. You can honor him like the 5th graders above and make him feel as great as you often feel on Father’s Day.

Do you have unresolved issues and emotions in relation to your father? Get some ideas for dealing with and resolving those.

ACTION POINTS

  • Have your kids start brainstorming now for ways they can help you honor their granddad(s) for Father’s Day.
  • Read more ideas about how to honor your dad.
  • What “spring traditions” do you have in your family? Planting flowers? A family walk or bike ride? Cleaning the basement or garage? Make sure to enjoy one together this weekend. (And if your tradition is more like a “chore” for your kids, find ways to keep them interested or make the time a little more fun.)
  • As the summer routine begins, commit as a family to eat dinner together 2, 3, 4 or 5 times each week.

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