Was your dad the “cool” dad that all the other kids liked? Was yours the one that wore those embarrassing wife beaters to your basketball games? Or was yours the one that gave you big hugs in front of other kids even when you were in high school? I was pretty lucky because mine was the one that raced me home after the game if we’d both driven. Shh…you can’t tell my mom that, okay?
But just in case you’ve been living under a rock, or are the most clueless person on the planet, it’s Father’s Day. And when you think about it, there are 3 types of people: the ones that have a great dad, ones that had a great dad, and the ones that wish they did.
My favorite thing to hear about dads is what they taught you. Sure, there are the dads that taught you what you never wanted to be, but even they had their moments. I love hearing how moms taught you to sew or bake cookies or garden or something useful. But let me guess. Your dad taught you how to belch the alphabet? He taught you how to golf (because of course mom said he couldn’t go golfing without taking you because she needed some “alone” time). He taught you how to drive the truck when you were 9! Or he taught you how to gamble at poker in case you were to someday encounter a game of strip poker with a busload of hot Swedish girls!
Oh, and am I wrong? Did your dad give you your first sip of beer? Shocker! Did he give you your first gun and take you hunting? Or maybe he scared you to death by putting a worm on your fishing rod when he was teaching you how to fish (which of course you can only do while drinking beer which is why you had to learn how to drive him home)? Did you learn all your best cuss words from your dad while he was “fixing” something in the garage? These are the great life lessons dads teach. For me, my dad showed me how to play a mean game of cards and how to cuss like a sailor at cattle (just as long as mom’s not around)! And the only thing better than the brilliant lessons dads teach, is the fabulous words of wisdom they give.
Come on, tell me one of your all-time favorite dad quotes. One of my favorites was when my dad said to me, “If you don’t get caught, it doesn’t count” – now, that could be a pretty reckless quote in the hands of the wrong kid, but I of course was a good, wholesome kid and wouldn’t do any more wrong than my dad’s senior goat-in-the-principal’s-office prank. He was always trying to get me to lighten up, except the moments when I was in trouble when he would sing, “You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m tellin’ you why…” Still think of him every time that song comes on at Christmas. Boy, did he win a lot of battles with that one. I’m sure you have your own stories of the brilliant words that haunt you or help you when you need them most.
However, there’s also all that stuff that dads don’t say, because they can’t. That’s the thing about dads. They may completely love you, but they don’t always know how to say it or show it. It’s just part of being a guy and really, they can’t be held accountable for that. As Lady GaGa would say: they were born that way. My rule of thumb is that you should always measure the man by his actions not by his words or the lack there of, as the case may be. I’ve watched my dad save many baby calves’ lives when it would have been easier not to. I’ve watched some other dads drink themselves into oblivion because they didn’t think they made enough money to support you. It’s not right, but I could about bet you money that had I have had a conversation with your dad, he would have bragged about you. He’d probably tell me stories and rave about you the likes of which never came out of his mouth when he was actually talking to you. That’s just how it works. And I bet if you think about it, you can remember a time when he checked your oil before you left on a trip, or he carried a picture of you when you were a baby in his wallet, or he bought you a Coke and a smile after you lost the big game. They sure may not be perfect but then if they knew even half the stuff you did, they’d realize you weren’t either.
But next time you sit down with beers to watch the big game, or throw some steaks on the grill, or duck tape something instead of buying new because you hate going to the store, or even hold your own kid in your arms, don’t forget who gave you that chance. Happy Father’s Day, guys!