Last weekend was Father's Day. Stores were busy as everyone hurried to find dad a great card or a great gift. Over the years, it has become a social and moral obligation to honor our fathers on Father's Day, but sadly, few of us really stop to consider the gifts our fathers have given us.
In my travels, I have come to understand that fathers learn to be fathers by watching the fathers they grow up with. Fathers are role models as much as they are anything else. Children notice every action, word, and deed. For good or bad, better or worse, fathers teach their children what it is to be an adult. It is a heavy responsibility and the consequences of a father's teachings can affect generations.
So today, I've decided to talk about the man who inspired me, and taught me how to be a father. My dad is a terrific father, and yet, like most fathers, he had no formal training. In fact, my dad is completely self-taught. His father died when he was just a little boy and his mother didn't remarry. Dad had to learn the fathering business by himself as he went along. He did very well, and in my humble opinion, he is the best father ever. Here is why.
If every man was like my father, we would live in a much different world than we have today. Almost everything would be different. There would be no wars between nations and no violent crimes on our streets. Women would be revered and children would be protected. Good manners would be the rule of the day. We could all trust our neighbors and children could play outside at night, happy, and unafraid. We wouldn't need courts, cops, judges, or lawyers. There would be no need for prisons, handcuffs, or security cameras.
If all men were like my dad, families would be strong and healthy. There would be very few divorces. My dad always keeps his promises. He honored his marriage vows and remained true and faithful through 62 years of marriage, a great example to his family and community.
If all men were like my father, there would be no abandoned or abused children. Dad fulfilled his obligations and met his family's needs in every way. I always felt safe and sheltered in his home. Every child deserves such a start in life.
If all men were like my dad, there would be no domestic violence. Dad didn't hit and he didn't yell. He was the master of his own emotions, and mercy and compassion were two of his many virtues.
If all men were like my dad, every child would feel wanted and loved. It would be expensive because we would have to expand the parking lots at little league ballparks and little girl's dance studios.
If all men were like my dad, our neighborhoods would be cleaner and friendlier places. Yards would be well kept, grass would be mowed, flowers planted, and buildings maintained. All neighborhoods would be pleasant places to live in and visit.
If all men were like my dad, the Ten Commandments would be the only law we ever needed. Congress could adjourn and go home, and good riddance.
If all men were like my dad, churches would be full and there would be no bad guys, brothels, or gambling dens. Contracts could be sealed with a handshake and there would be no pornography, obscenity, drug abuse, X-rated movies, or vile, rap music lyrics. There would be no mistreated animals or abandoned domestic pets. Everyone would feed birds in the winter and grow lovely gardens in the summer.
If all men were like my dad, there would be no litter along our highways and no graffiti anywhere. There would be no vandalism and no theft. We could all do without locks on our cars, homes, and storage sheds. Honesty wouldn't be the best policy, it would be the only policy.
Over the years, I've come to understand that we don't need to go to heaven to live in paradise. We could have paradise now if all men were like my father. Thank you dad. And to all of the other fathers out there who live by similar standards and teach those values to their children, may your tribes increase forever, and may your children call you blessed.