*First off, everything I’m writing about fathers surely applies to mothers as well*
My dad’s birthday was a few days ago. Talking to him on the phone, I had a torrent of thoughts that I wish I could have communicated with him. Alas, I didn’t want to embarrass myself with corny blabbering, so I kept the conversation “normal”; but I really wanted to tell him what a great dad he is.
Too many times have we, in the most unappreciative way, disrespected our fathers, only to have them turn around and extend a helping hand in our hours of need. Too many times have they given us more chances, only to have us make more mistakes. In fact, throughout different stages of our lives, our fathers are a variety of different things to us; but to them, we will always their kids with potential to be great.
When we were little, our fathers were the truth. They could do no wrong, and they had the absolute answer to any of our many questions (although sometimes they withheld the answers so that we could learn for ourselves). We looked up to them and aspired to be just like them; they were our heroes.
As we got older, we discovered a few of our fathers’ faults, faults that should have been insignificant. He smokes. He swears. He yells. He makes mistakes. What possible bearing do these have on the amazing father he is? Yet suddenly, that perfect image of our heroes was shattered. What’s more, we punished his image in our minds more than we should, because to us, he should have been perfect. He was obligated to be.
By the time we’re teenagers, our self absorbed worlds can’t bear to have our fathers cramping our lifestyles anymore. The fathers that were once our idols now seem to exist only to make our lives miserable and restricted. Any of their flaws are only magnified in our eyes as we think “how can you still make those mistakes?” or “you will never understand”.
After getting through that age and spending some time on our own, reality settles in and we get a chance for the first time (now that we see a more complete picture of life) to reevaluate how our fathers have impacted our lives. We finally appreciate them again. We remember all the little things they did for us over the years. They slave through the late nights and weekends to put food on the table, but give the biggest pieces of meat to us while they pick the bones. They work extra hours to save up a good amount of money, but spend it on presents that make us happy for a brief time, and on educations that propel us toward success. At last, when we experience true difficulty in real life, (career, money, love) we begin to understand that they also had to go through these trials, and we look up to them once more for confronting these challenges and overcoming them. And for all we know (which isn’t much), that’s just the beginning.
I knew it, my dad is a hero after all.