We’ve nearly arrived at Father’s Day. It’s just a week away now, not that anyone will give you the opportunity to miss that point. Every store has Father’s Day specials. Commercials and direct mail remind us of it, too. I’m seeing emails in my inbox on a daily basis that are trying to use Father’s Day as an excuse to sell me something. It reminds me of Charlie Brown’s lament about Christmas going commercial.
As a dad, Father’s Day is a funny thing. It’s one of those few holidays where I don’t have to take care of gifts/cards/celebrations, which almost makes it feel like it isn’t really a holiday (I know it’s strange to associate “responsibility” with “holiday,” but there it is). I also feel somewhat silly being honored/getting attention for being a dad. As I see it, I’m nothing special. I’m just a guy trying to do the right thing, the same thing I expect any other father to do. For me, being a dad is just normal, everyday life. Why set aside a day to celebrate that?
And yet, I get it. I have a dad. I appreciate what he’s done for me. I’m sure to him, it’s just normal, everyday life, too, but as a son, I know it was important and made a difference. So if I put myself in my kids’ place and try to see the world from their perspective (which, scary as it is, is a worthwhile endeavor for a number of reasons), I get why they like to make a fuss over me on Father’s Day. It doesn’t really help me be any more comfortable with the celebration, but I can go along with it.
The celebration is, in fact, the best part of Father’s Day. Once I get over myself, the celebration of Father’s Day really becomes one of those very special moments in the year. My wife and kids (who are awesome, by the way) are experts at making the celebration memorable. I love to see the excitement the kids have to show me the cards they’ve made. I love the warmth of the joy they project. I love simply being together as a family. When it comes down to it, that’s what I want for Father’s Day: that precious time when we get to be together as family.
I could care less about the stuff everyone wants me to buy. In fact, the constant “buy, buy, buy” message seems, in a sense, almost blasphemous. You can’t buy a special family moment; you can’t purchase a container of love and appreciation and have it shipped to your dad. As I ruminate on the Father’s Day retail push, it almost makes me want to overturn the tables of some moneychangers. It also, though, helps me recognize when a company is trying to do things the right way.
Dove Men + Care has a promotion running right now that fits into that category. They’re running a contest, asking folks to submit they’re favorite “dad-ism.” Some examples of dad-isms that I’m sure you’ve heard at some point in your life:
- “You’ll understand when you’re older.”
- “You make a better door than a window.”
- “Do it right the first time.”
Many of the pithy statements Dove has collected ring true with my experience with my own dad, and that’s the whole idea. Part of celebrating Father’s Day is this collective, social sharing of the experience of being a son or daughter and recognizing the value that fathers bring to us and our society as a whole. “Dad-isms” are something we can relate to universally because we’ve all had a father figure in our life. Participating in this national celebration helps to reinforce the value that we find in the institution of fatherhood and brings us all closer in the process.
You can share your own dad-ism with the rest of the community on the Dove Men + Care Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dovemencareus/app_224863217539583. There’s a contest you can enter, too, as part of the process. Go ahead, share you dad-ism. Participate in the celebration. Because I said so.
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.
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Happy Fathers Day to all fathers and father figures! Enjoy this performance of “Things My Father Gave Me (Which I Never Asked for)”