In less than 10 days, it’ll be Father’s Day here in Canada (it falls on the third Sunday of every June).
While there are many ways this can be “celebrated”, including golf outings, special lunches, book tokens, etc., the gift that seems to make the most rounds is something that includes “Father of the Year” verbiage.
Coffee mugs, gift cards, lapel badges – these are just some of the ways to thank your dad for doing his job, whatever that may be.
And that’s exactly why we should get rid of this whole “father of the year” thinking.
Why Do We Need Father of the Year Anyway?
Let’s face it – this whole father of the year shtick is nothing but a ploy by the likes of Hallmark to get kids to spend money on a card that shows their dads how much they love them.
After all, if you’re father of the year, that makes you better than every other dad around, right?
But who makes that decision? Hallmark? Puh-lease.
This week, my five year old son Ewan has been really sick, with a fever that saw us take him to the hospital to get checked. My wife drove him there, while I stayed home and watched his three year old sister Salem.
When Ewan was discharged, I kept him company and gave him medicine and played games, etc. When he was sleeping, I made sure his room was cool and his sheets weren’t exacerbating the fever.
Does that make me dad of the year? No – because I had help from my wife, and I was just looking after my son.
Compare that to Mark Sutton, the brother of my friend Paul Sutton, over in the UK. Mark and his wife Lucy have three boys, the third of which, Luke, has suffered severe health issues since birth, and faces death every single day.
Does a Hallmark card saying I’m dad of the year for keeping my son’s temperature down mean I’m a better dad than Mark, who – along with his family – is going through so much, but remains a strong father?
Or simply the dads that make life better just by doing silly little things? Does my card make me better than them?
Of course not – and yet here we are, every year, dishing out cards that do nothing except make a card producer richer.
The Legacy of a Father
I get it. I see my two kids smile when they make me smile, and that means more to me than any card ever could. But if giving me a card that lets me know they think I’m dad of the year make them smile, I should be happy too, right?
And I am. But it’s a “false” smile, because we should be moving away from material and empty awards, and think the bigger, and more beneficial, picture.
If we truly want to think about fathers of the year, how about we actually make the “award” mean something?
- Judge us, as fathers, by how we raise our children to act towards other people – with love, kindness, respect and equality.
- Judge as by how we treat their mother, both in front of them and away from their eyes – as an equal, as a human being, as a person.
- Judge us by how they treat the world when we’re not here, as opposed to how they treat the world when our eyes are upon them.
- Judge us by how we shy away from defining what it means to be a “real man” and instead defining what it means to be a human being.
The legacy of the children we raise for tomorrow will define how “good” a father we were for today. For me, that’s a far better goal to achieve than something Hallmark says we should be.
Here’s to you, awesome dads. And you too, moms – because we’re all in this awesome “award ceremony” together.
And you don’t need a Hallmark card to show you that.