4.7
June 16, 2013

Father’s Day is for Bad Dads, Too.

“How true Daddy’s words were when he said: ‘All children must look after their own upbringing.’ Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ~ Anne Frank

The True Meaning of Father’s Day.

An article about a Father’s Day that we all can celebrate–whether we had great Dads or…otherwise.

If you were lucky enough to have a real father, appreciate that today. Hold that close. And tell your father, if he’s still with us, how much you appreciate him.

But if, like many of us, you weren’t so lucky…well, either way, we appreciate so acutely the preciousness of a good dad.

The great thing about parents is—whether they were good or bad parents…we can learn from their example.

For example: my grandma is an generous, sweet, caring, fun grandma. I remember walking with her one time, and asking her advice about marriage {here’s her advice about marriage from another time we sat down together}. At the time I was madly-deeply in an adolescent, shallow sort of love with this lady. And loving this lady made me think about the nature of love, and commitment, and wonder: what does one look for in a life partner? And I asked her, and she replied with a smile:

“Well, don’t ask me. You can learn from me, but only from my mistakes.”

Something like that.

But she wasn’t being humble: she really meant that we can learn from our family’s mistakes just as well as we can learn from their virtues.

If your father was a jerk—immature, a drunk, abusive, absent, selfish, lying, useless—or all of the above—that’s actually fine. Let go of resentment. I’m not suggesting you forget, or forgive—that’s up to you. But move on (after, say, three seconds).

Remember that plenty of amazing people came from tough situations, and plenty of lazy, selfish people came from amazing situations.

Our success and joy is up to us and no other.

So Father’s Day should be a reminder to cherish those true dads, who did so much more than help create us. They raised us with love and patience, humor and wisdom. But it’s also a day to appreciate all the regrettable qualities in those dads who made for bad dads. Take a minute to think about all the ways your father might have failed you, if he did—and let go, by resolving to do better.

For me, that’s a meaning of Father’s Day that we can all celebrate.

~

“When one has not had a good father, one must create one.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

For more:

elephant’s best posts on Father’s Day: #1.

elephant’s best posts on Father’s Day: #2.

elephant’s best posts on Father’s Day: #3. 

Louis CK on Father’s Day.

“This is the kind of father I want to be.” {Video}

Unhappy Fathers’ Day.

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