Father’s Day

DadI’m not completely stupid.  I know that the Father’s Day ads with which I’ve been peppered all month are nothing personal.  They’re intended to tug at the sentimental heartstrings and get me to spend some money on dear old Dad.  As one of the generation for whom computers were a new household commodity well after college was over, I know that I’m part of a fairly large demographic of middle-age users.  I do wonder, when I see these ads, how many other readers ponder the fact that their fathers have died and that Father’s Day is an occasion as much of mourning as it is of celebrating.  While I know, dear reader, that you’re not my therapist, my father died many years ago after a lifetime of separation from my brothers and me.  I can’t claim to have known him, except in unguarded moments looking into the mirror at the blue eyes he contributed to my genetic code, along with other aspects I can only imagine.
 
Father’s Day can, of course, be a day to honor the memory of, as well as buy things for, dad.  Holidays, however, aren’t really holidays without the changing of hands of lucre.  Although I never tried to think much about it, I never spent a Father’s Day with my father.  I know I’m not alone in this, but many are the days when I believe I would have benefited from a bit more instruction than I received on that front.  “Majoring in religion is not the best career choice,” might have been one of those nuggets I could’ve done with hearing.  The women in my family seemed  to think it was okay.  Even one of my dad’s ancestors was a clergyman.  I like to think that fathers might be able, in some cases, to see farther than their sons.  Call it male bonding.  Call it being a man in a post-patriarchal world.  Call it confusion.
 
I’m all for honoring parents.  I also tend to think people are basically good and that by far the majority of people try to do what they think is right.  They may not have much with which to work, but they try.  I can also think of better ways of honoring them than spending money.  Maybe we could try restructuring society so that those who start out with little might have resources available to move ahead.  If some father’s child has obvious gifts, might we not offer a way for that child to use them and thrive?  As a father myself, I can think of nothing that would make me happier than to see my child have better prospects than I’ve had.  Instead I see a society of one-percenters encouraging us to spend a bit more since, after all, fathers measure their worth in stuff.  The stuff that really matters, at least for this father, include those no longer here as well as those who are yet to inherit.

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