How will you show appreciation for your dad this Father’s Day? Here’s a tribute from a man named Neil about his father. As he wrote,
“All too often, so little is said about men who make great sacrifices for their children.”
My dad was part of what Tom Brokaw refers to as the “Greatest Generation.” After returning from fighting in World War II, he started raising a family. He worked two jobs, usually leaving for work well before my older brother and I awakened, and returning home well after we went to bed.
My dad had many great plans for his family. Unfortunately, when I was 9 years of age, I recall being told that my mother had cancer. My father did everything he could for the next two years to save her, [but] my mother did eventually die…. My dad lost the love of his life, all of his dreams and, for the most part, all of his finances (paying medical bills).
He quickly had to give up his second job, switch gears to become both father and mother to two young boys, learn cooking, how to do laundry, as well as assume responsibility for all the other things normally done by both parents. He had to deal with the tremendous grief which consumed both my brother and me, not to mention finding additional finances.
My dad raised two sons who both went on to college and careers. He died 13 years ago. Although my father sacrificed all of his dreams to raise his sons, I do think he lived a fulfilling life.
Are you humbled by this story? Clearly Neil’s dad wasn’t perfect, but he demonstrated the kind of commitment that it takes to be an effective father. Many of us are thankful that we aren’t asked to make those kinds of adjustments and sacrifices, but most of us would step up with courage if the situation called for it.
As we look ahead to Father’s Day, dad, prepare to pay tribute to your father in some way, maybe like Neil did.
Thank him for what he did for you, and if he has passed on, find another way to celebrate his life and his legacy. And even if what he gave you wasn’t all that great, find and focus on the positives, however small they may seem.
Then, be inspired by men like Neil’s dad, and continue to father your own kids with strength and dedication.
What do you admire most about your father? Start making a list you can share with him—and please leave at least one positive comment about him on our Facebook page.
Action Points & Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What positive qualities about Neil’s father stick out in your mind?
- What do you know about your father’s early years? What factors likely made him the kind of father he was?
- How did your dad show his commitment to you and the family—or how do you wish he would have been more committed?
- Imagine your fathering commitment being truly stretched or tested in some way. Consider adding more time with your kids or a regular activity with each one.
- This Father’s Day, take honoring your father a step further than what you typically do. If you’re able to talk to him, verbalize your appreciation for his commitment to you.