Sounds confusing, we know.
Let us be more precise. Dads, turn the tide. This year, “be” the gift. Give yourself. Give your time. Give your attention.
The whole subject mushroomed into an idea when we Googled “Father’s Day” in hopes of finding something inspirational in observance of today’s special day for pops everywhere.
We found it. But it wasn’t what we expected.
At the risk of plagiarism and violating just about every copyright law this side of responsible journalism, we’ll disclose much of the following information came from CNN.com. There, we found a piece written by blogger Jeff Pearlman who contributed it as a “Special to CNN.” For the record, Pearlman is a columnist for SI.com. He blogs at jeffpearlman.com.
In the finely written prose — one that points a targeted finger in the unmistakable direction of busy, and therefore wayward, dads — Pearlman offers 10 suggestions that fathers should take to heart. He describes them as the “10 Commandments of Righteous Fatherhood.” He admits he’s a little tough on the so-called head of the house, but he explains why. It’s because he’s aware of a mom who is distraught over her husband’s shirking of his fatherhood duties.
Too, Pearlman advises he’s a stay-at-home dad so he sees life — and Father’s Day — from a unique perspective. He tends to the kids. He cooks. He cleans. He disciplines. He shares playtime. He chauffeurs from doctor to dentist, from soccer practice to the library, from Aunt Sue’s to his son’s best friend’s birthday party.
At day’s end, he’s exhausted. His only paycheck is watching his kids grow and better understanding the challenge of motherhood. Unlike moms everywhere, he’s not birthing the babies. But he’s sure raising them. And to read his words, he’s loving every day of this chapter in life, albeit sometimes it’s a tough love.
So given his experiences, Pearlman urges fathers across America — and beyond — to gladly receive their Father’s Day gifts, but in return to give something of themselves ... like, themselves.
We’ll clean up some of his verbiage, but we won’t touch the message. It’s too real.
Paraphrased, here are his Father’s Day suggestions which be believes should be practiced 365 days a year. Most are geared toward dads with small children — not the older, wiser and wrinkled variety who have already raised theirs. But everyone, at any age, can learn a little something.
1. No golf on weekends. Moms are already giving full-time attention to the kids. Maybe it’s time for Dad to pitch in without a golf club in his hand.
2. Wake up, literally. On one of the weekend days, rise early in the morning with the kids. Do something fun, even if it’s a little bit crazy.
3. Change diapers. If you don’t know how, then learn. If you don’t want to learn, then learn anyway. If you get poop on your hands, then wash your hands.
4. Play with dolls and paint your toenails. In his words, “Dude, put aside the machismo, break out Barbie and slather on some pink polish.” You’ll make a friend for life. And nobody’s watching.
5. Do things you don’t want to do. Enjoy a tea party. Crawl through a wormhole in a nearby kiddie gym. Slide the slides and swing the swings at the neighborhood playground.
6. Order the wife to bug off. In other words, give her the day off. Let her do her thing. In her absence, you do the kids’ thing. Most kids don’t bite. But if they do, apply antiseptic.
7. Surprise! Without meaning or purpose ... just once ... show up at your kids’ school and pick them up early. Catch a movie. Visit a park. Take a hike. But don’t do it during a test day or final exams. Not cool.
8. Dishes don’t clean themselves, nor do toys. Ban Mom from the kitchen after supper and clean up. In the writer’s words, “You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.”
9. Wake up your kids. Not often, but after the kids are sound asleep wake them up, go outside for 10 minutes and watch the stars. It seems crazy, but the writer says it “scores big points” and creates a “killer memory moment.”
10. Tell your kids you love them. They hear it from Mom all the time. Sometimes it’s nice to hear it from Dad.
Father’s Day enjoys all the special moments as Mother’s Day. But it carries a different set of opportunities. One is called giving.
On this Father’s Day, we urge all fathers — young and old and somewhere in the vast in between — to accept all your gifts. And then give yourself the greatest gift ... your time.
When it’s all over, you might ask, “Was I giving or receiving?”
If you did have to ask, then you might have missed the point. But then again, we figure you knew the answer all along.