Father’s Day is important because fathers are important. Sometimes fathers are very involved with their kids. Sometimes they are very involved in earning money for their kids. Sometimes they are a distant memory or idea.
As I consider my extended family, I see that there are many fathers around me. I am grateful for them, especially my husband. Dads in my generation are challenged with being great at both nurturing and providing for their kids. While this means that we moms get more balance and appreciation, or at least the potential for more if we allow ourselves, it puts new demands on modern dads that prior generations did not have.
This will be my first Father’s Day without my dad. He was a great protector and provider. It feels like just yesterday that he died. What that means to me is that there is no time like the present to complete your communications with the people that you love. Thank them and tell them what they mean to you. If you are thinking that next Father’s Day will be the time to do something really special, remember that tomorrow is never guaranteed. This Father’s Day, set an intention to get to the heart of your relationship with Dad and speak your love, gratitude, and forgiveness.
Six Meaningful Ways to Honor Dad for Father’s Day
Here are six meaningful ways to honor Dad for Father’s Day. I am so glad that we did these with my dad so that our relationship was clear of ill feelings and regrets, and we were able to build on love.
When you are harboring anger or resentment against another person, it does more harm to you than to them. There is a saying that says, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” Yikes! Release your anger and forgive. For your sake, not theirs. You don’t have to forget or condone what happened. Give it to God to deal with and trust that it is in good hands. Once you let go of the fight, you can use all that extra energy to make your life amazing.
2. Do a Bonding Activity
Is there something that your dad likes to do that you would enjoy doing? Get out there and create an experience that you and he will cherish. While you are at it, take some pictures and video.
3. Say “I love you.”
In our little nuclear family, we say “I love you” all the time. We never said “I love you” to my parents or grandparents. It was just assumed. They certainly didn’t say it to us. I worked up the courage to put it out there and not expect anything in return. I even had my coach hold me accountable. And even though it was very uncomfortable, I did it. I said it. It became a habit which made it easier to express other things. If you don’t already tell your dad you love him, give it a shot and see what happens. It’s about your growth.
4. Give a Framed Photo
I love pictures. Our family was very blessed to have a lot of pictures and video, originally shot with Super 8 film, that captured our family history and some great memories. Choose a photo with dad in it, any solo or family picture that honors dad, and get a complementary frame for it. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. It can be an older photo from the collection or it can be something recent. Either way, it is usually a hit.
5. Write a Thank You or Tribute Letter
This gift is an especially powerful way to speak from your heart and complete your communication with dad. I highly recommend that you do this and make it at least a page long. Name some specific situations and experiences to increase the impact. You may have to force yourself to write it out, but it is extremely beneficial to get your thoughts on paper. If you really want to take it to the next level, read it out loud to your dad and even capture it on video. Open your heart to give and receive love. This one simple activity could be life-changing. Just do it.
Throughout the festivities of Father’s Day, be sure to give your dad the gift of being heard. Listen to the stories that you have already heard a million times before. Ask questions that get to deeper levels of communication about his feelings and needs. Listen with empathy, releasing judgment, fixing, advising, and sympathizing. Just listen. This may be one of the greatest gifts you can give dad on Father’s Day.
Even though I am not a father, I love celebrating Father’s Day. Mother’s Day is my day, but Father’s Day reminds me that it takes two. Parenting is one of hardest jobs ever, and anyone doing it deserves honor.
To find out more about staying conscious and present in parenting and partnership, please fill in the box at the upper right of this page. I look forward to staying in touch with you along this journey of parenting. May you and the dads you know have a Happy Father’s Day!