Today is my seventh Father's Day and it doesn't get old. Hearing my wife and kids say, "Happy Father's Day!" with gusto is probably the coolest thing next to seeing my kids get excited on Christmas morning, the day I got married and the birth of my kids. Nothing tops those moments and nothing will. Ever.
We typically celebrate the day with a BBQ with family and friends and that's just fine with me. I like to keep things low key and relaxing. Basically, the day is the Superbowl of being a Dad. The best part is, there are no losers.
With that said, here is why it is and how to be, an awesome dad.
Why: Unconditional Love
Your kids are going to love you no matter what. Yea, you could cranky one day and focused on work when they want to go outside and play, but they will forgive you for being snappy with them. They want to be held and cuddled when they get hurt and want daddy's big arms to be wrapped in.
They want your approval on everything because without dad saying, "oh dude, that's cool!", it's not worth it (it is, but it isn't if you know what I mean). With daughters, I know they will always be around after they get older, get married, have kids of their own, etc. It's on a rare occasion that someone who grows up in the greater Boston area, takes off for another state. I don't why, but we just seam to stick here and that's fine with me. Not that I want to be a grandfather any time soon, but I'm looking forward to those Father's Day's as well.
How: Supporting Wife
Without a supporting wife who takes care of the home, the kids, cooking, cleaning, etc., etc. Father's Day just isn't worth it. Your wife is your best friend and right hand lady. All decisions are run through her for a gut check. She'll be honest and straight up with you in times when that's absolutely needed. She rules the roost and arguably, has a harder job than you do.
As a dad, we head to work, put in our 10-12 hour days (and if you're like me, it's more like 14 with my Technorati gig); you come home, eat dinner, play with the kids and send them off to bed. This is a routine that happens day after day after day after day. The routine just washes over you like summer rain on a 90 degree day. It doesn't bother you because you know that the water will cool things down. In this case, though, the routine is needed to put food on the table, keep a roof over your family's head, go on vacation, etc. -- do all the times that families do together.
Why: It's a Great Responsibility
Being a dad is a massive responsibility and anyone that doesn't take that responsibility seriously should be beaten locked away for life. Yes, being a parent is not an easy thing by no means. But, it is the biggest responsibility of your life. Being a dad takes precedence over everything else. Everything you do is for your family and for them to have a better life. When I mean everything, I mean everything -- from the car you purchase; to the life insurance you have; how you manage your finances; how you progress in your career, etc. The list goes on and on.
The responsibility is one that should not be taken lightly and should be cherished. Not everyone can be a parent and the fact that you are entrusted to care for your kids (even when they are parents themselves) is a responsibility that doesn't have a price tag on it, doesn't have any playbook to follow or can be done in a wrong or right way. The key is that you take the responsibly head-on and embrace it with every serious bone in your body.
How: Live, Laugh and Love
Of course, none of this is not worth it if you can't live, laugh and love.
Living: Be sure to do the little things with your kids. Get on the floor and let them wrestle with you. Take them to the park when it's a zillion degrees out there and you're tired, but they want to go play. Teach them to do things like ride a bike, plant flowers, explore and just be kids. The best part is, you can be a kid with your kids. Enjoy it and keep reminding yourself to live life with them to the fullest.
Laugh: Laughter is such a big key to being a good dad. Your kids will think everything you do is funny -- until they are teenagers and you become "that" dad. Laughter can't pay your bills nor can't fix a hole in the roof, however it can patch broken hearts, dry tears and bring you closer together as a family.
Love: All of this isn't worth it if there's no love in your life. Love your kids and wife unconditionally as they love you. Despite all the things they will do as they get older and weave their way through lifes challenges, just love them. Yes, there will be times that you're steaming at something they did, but you're going to love them regardless. Showing them affection is free. There are no cost barriers. Since it's free, give it away in boat loads. Hug 'em. Kiss 'em. Tickle 'em. Cuddle with 'em. Just love them. It's not hard, so do it all the time, every day, as much as you possibly can.
So, to all the Dads out there, including my pops who is a good role model my brother and I and a guy that wrote the daddy playbook for me, happy Father's Day.