Monday, June 20, 2016

Present Imperfect: Happy Fathers Day 2016

To all my fellow fathers, on this Fathers Day, 2016... Well, it is that time of year once again: we are seeing posts like this on Facebook, and we are thinking of our fathers, living and deceased. If we are

lucky, our children are thinking of us. Maybe they have posted something here, or maybe they haven't.
Maybe we got a card, a tie, a thoughtful text message or voice mail, or maybe we didn't. Those of us of a certain age are, if we are lucky, contemplating our children--our wishes for them, our hopes and dreams for them, our experiences with them...

Those of you like me, who have made mistakes, are perhaps thinking of those times when you could have been there and weren't, or when you tried to be and couldn't. I'm thinking of several times when I
wish I had been more patient, had helped with one more math problem, had tossed the football for an extra fifteen minutes, or had played one more game of Candyland Bingo.

But here's the thing, guys; we did what we thought was the best we could do at the time, just like our dads did. We didn't do any of it perfectly, and neither did they. Those of you reading this whose kids are still young enough to be at home and under your care won't do it perfectly, either. You may resolve in your heart to do better, and you probably will. But you will invent new mistakes, all your own. Because we aren't flawless--none of us. The generation we are raising as children--or, in my case, the
generation we have raised--also won't be flawless. They, too, will invent mistakes all their own.

And it's okay. Why? 

Because of love. Because in spite of my mistakes, I have had the chance to love my kids and do the best I could for and with them, and because they will do the same for their kids. We aren't perfect, but love is. And to the extent that we were loved--however imperfectly--and passed along that love to our kids--however imperfectly--we became a little more perfect.

Happy Fathers Day, guys. Take a minute to reflect, take a sip of whatever beverage you prefer, and let yourself off the hook, just a little, if you need to. It's okay. You did your best, and you are doing your
best. Hang in there. And next year about this time, let's touch base and see how it's going.

No comments: