As I entered the gym this morning, I shared morning greetings with a man whom I’ve had the pleasure of watching the transition from young man to grown man. I first met this gentleman man more than ten years ago when he was an out of shape teen.
He is no longer a teen and he is no longer out of shape. Today he stands as the epitome of great health.
For those of you eating something that you have no business eating, relax. This post is not meant to convict you to take better care of yourself – well not exactly. Instead, I mostly just want to share what the young man said to me after the general pleasantries. He said, “my dad died and I bury him tomorrow”.
MY FATHER IS DEAD
At first, I wasn’t sure if I heard him correctly so I asked him to repeat what he said. He said it a second time, “my dad died and I bury him tomorrow”. Notwithstanding the gravity of his statement, he simply walked into the gym and began working out.
I started my workout but my focus was broken. All I could think about was the pain he had to be going through. I imagined how my son might be feeling if he had to bury me tomorrow. So, I walked over to him to express my condolence and offered a shoulder should he want or need it.
He thanked me for my concern and offer of assistance but to be honest, even I found my offer to be worthless. He was burying his father and nothing I could say or do would change those facts.
He told me that he would be in touch. And he also uttered the following words several times, “I would have gladly traded my life for my father’s”.
JUST BE THANKFUL!
Hearing that someone you know must bury his father the day before Father’s Day was not only a sobering reminder of the importance of fathers but it was a prompt about the fragility of life. Listening to the words “I would have gladly traded my life for his” further supports my belief that the only Father’s Day gifts that truly matter are gratitude and time.
Thus, this Father’s Day, I implore all fathers to do two things. First, tell your children all the ways that you are thankful for them. You can start your expression using the following phrase: “As a dad, I’m thankful for…”
It doesn’t matter if you write them a letter to express your gratitude, sing them a song that says thank you, record a video celebrating the many wonderful moments you have shared together, or if you write a poem that conveys your appreciation for them. What matters most is that you make it unequivocally clear that as their dad, you are thankful for them.
OUT OF TIME
Secondly, I want you to stop taking time with your children for granted. Far too many fathers do this. We regularly forego opportunities for bonding; instead choosing intimate detachment which we find in electronic devices, sports, and television.
Others of us routinely go through each day as if tomorrow, the next day is guaranteed. I hope this post illustrates the tenuousness of tomorrow and serves as a reminder to all fathers of the peril in discounting the value of living and loving our children in the only moment that matters – the present.
So, on Sunday when Father’s Day arrives tell your children loudly and proudly just how thankful you are to be their dad and give them all your undivided time and attention.
And for any dad who is a little reluctant to make an emotional or public declaration, I’ll start it off by making a public declaration to my son, Naeem. Naeem, if you are reading this you should know that as your dad, I’m thankful for the opportunity to love you, that my appreciation for you grows every day, and that you can count on me to do my part to make sure that we are always pals.
Let us know how would you finish this sentence: “As a dad, I’m thankful for …….
Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion.