We may call him Daddy, Pops, Papa, Papi, Baba, Tatti, Babbo or any one of the many endearments we have for our Dads. Whatever is our favourite name to describe him, this man is a dominant figure in most of our lives, one way or another. A Dad can be a good father, an indifferent one, or even a bad one. Today, as Father’s Day approaches, I want to talk about the good fathers and what they may mean to all of us.
What is an ideal father? What kind of character does he have? What teachings and disciplines does he pass on to his children so that they can teach the same lessons to their own children? I can only draw from my own observations of various fathers I have known throughout my life, and what I believe an ideal Dad should be.
An ideal Dad should teach his children that work is not a four-letter word. At the same time, he needs to show them that love of work, enjoyment in what they do, is the foundation for a very satisfying and fulfilling life. All work is honourable, but it is especially great when you know that the work you choose to do is purposeful and meaningful to you, and brings you great pleasure. It’s also important for a child to choose work that is beneficial to others, because then the world sees their work as admirable and desirable, setting examples for others to follow.
An ideal Dad should look at his children with eyes full of love and understanding. He will always see the beautiful baby he held in his arms at birth, heart full-to-bursting with a love so deep it will never waver, in all the years as the child grows to adulthood. He will be a fiercely protective Dad, helping his child avoid the pitfalls in life whenever and however he can, while encouraging a thoughtful approach to life and a yearning for wisdom.
An ideal Dad should be stern, but gentle, instilling in his sons and daughters a sense of the wonderful, of the unique, of adventure, of discovery, of challenge in life. Showing them the beauty and rhythms of nature, through camping, canoeing, hiking, skiing, boating, horseback riding, swimming, kite-flying, bird-watching, plant identification, gardening, wild berry gathering, observing wildlife, or photographing it, whatever can be done to get them closer to the earth, is one of the greatest things a father can teach his children. In times of stress, turning to nature can be a medicine beyond price. The respect they feel about what is around them, instills a desire to protect nature for their own children to enjoy.
An ideal Dad should be an encouraging mentor who teaches his children to reach out and grasp their own potential, build their own possibilities, carve out their own futures. That child will reach into the air and pull down an idea that could potentially change the world. That child needs to know that everything is possible, and that he or she is the person who can do it, should do it, will do it. There are enough people out there who say “no” to every idea, that it is particularly wonderful for any child to have a father whose attitude is “You can do it! I believe in you!”
An ideal Dad should be willing to show tough love at times. Outside influences – bad friends, bad situations – can be very damaging to a child, and a father has to recognize when something is wrong, analyze it, and rectify it. The path his child takes in life is of supreme importance to an ideal father, and he needs to have the courage to keep that child steady through the rough times, while showing that his own love for them is strong and unmovable. A father I know felt compelled to send his son into military service in order to give him self-discipline and self-respect, and to separate him from very, very bad influences. It worked. The sullen son who had lost his way became a good, strong, purposeful man.
An ideal Dad should take time with each of his children, and all of his children, to do things together. His children need to know that he loves being with them, that they are each special to him in their own right. Playing catch or building a treehouse or teaching them how to ride a bicycle or drive a car are memories that are indelible. The bond he creates when he is with them is an unbreakable one that lasts a lifetime, because of the deep foundation of memories it provides, and the sense of happiness at being together.
An ideal Dad needs his children to understand that laughter is extremely important in life, especially when it means laughing at oneself. His children need to know that having fun should be wholesome and warming, and that a smiling face and laughter in the heart are two of life’s greatest treasures.
An ideal Dad needs to teach his children to be responsible. Mowing lawns or shovelling snow for an elderly or disabled neighbour…. performing household duties in the home, learning to cook and clean (both boys and girls)…. looking after the care and feeding of a pet… opening a bank account and regularly saving, even if in small amounts… learning that he or she is responsible in life for what they say and what they do, making choices that will bring honour and respect to them.
An ideal Dad shows his children that giving of oneself to others is an honourable and necessary role in life. Whether it is in charitable works, or time spent improving someone else’s life, or a simple courtesy like opening a door for another person. They need to feel the self-satisfaction in knowing that someone else’s life is better and happier because they were there when they were needed.
An ideal Dad should teach his children what the word respect means, by earning it. He needs to show them that respect for himself and their mother is necessary and desirable, because they are good parents and also good people to the world at large. The children need to see that the world holds their father (and mother) in high esteem, and that they should do so as well. This will form their own self-esteem, teaching sons to respect the woman they will eventually marry, and daughters to seek a man who they can look up to and trust.
An ideal Dad should teach his children love of true beauty. Not superficial beauty, but beauty of the heart and mind. He should teach them that wrinkles can show the beauty of wisdom and that older minds have a lifetime of learning to give to a young mind which enquires of them. He shows them that a warm and giving heart, a spirit instilled with laughter and joy, do not have to have a beautiful face to make them special. They will see that looking for what’s within a person leads to recognition of the true worth of others, and can create deep and lasting friendships. They learn that knowing the true value of others can give a child an insight into their own value.
An ideal Dad should teach his children social skills to prepare them for living peacefully within their communities. Participating in sports, church or school group activities, can instil in them a sense of team spirit and camaraderie, strong moral fibre and sensitivity for the wants and needs of others. At the same time, he should teach them to stand up for what is right, and speak up when a wrong needs to be corrected. Understanding his fellow man or woman and addressing situations in a fair and logical way, can bring out leadership qualities which will stand him or her in good stead in troubled times.
An ideal Dad welcomes literature, art, music and science into his home, understanding that they open wonderful conversations and memorable moments bonding him to his children, whether the child is a participant or an appreciative onlooker. I know a father who spent years helping one child perfect an incredible telescope, polishing the lens, creating a very special bond. I know another Dad who attended music concerts with his daughter and her friends (sitting in the back, of course) to not only listen to and better understand the music she loved, but to better understand her and be part of her excitement and enjoyment. An ideal Dad knows that Art can be an expression of personal creativity or appreciation of the gifts of others who bring colour, light and form into our lives, enriching them. An ideal Dad knows that the great thoughts of the great thinkers, the great storytellers, the great imaginative writers, the great poets, expand the child’s mind and understanding, so books should just be everywhere in the home.
An ideal Dad should show his children that education in life is not just attending school. The most important lessons a child can learn are taught at home. Parents love for each other and for their children, love of life, strength of character, simple rules of right and wrong, tenderness, giving, caring, sacrifice, romance, creativity, dreaming, planning, building, relaxation, joy – these are a few words that I attach to the education I received in my home.
What is an ideal Dad? A father who will always extol and encourage your virtues and strengths, while overlooking or forgiving your shortcomings. My ideal Dad was all of the above – and more. My daughter’s ideal Dad came from the same mould. We are very, very fortunate children, she and I.
The 2014 Toronto Jazz Festival
Father’s Day is Sun. June 15th. A fantastic gift for Dad, if you don’t mind waiting till June 19th or later, could be a concert at the 2014 Toronto Jazz Festival. This TD Bank sponsored festival runs June 19th to 28th and is held in the heart of downtown Toronto. Past years have seen annual attendances of over 500,000 people. 80% of the music you will hear is jazz, but you can also experience many different genres like blues, funk, hip-hop and latin. Prices range from totally free to basic club cover charges to normal concert ticket prices, depending on artist & venue. There are roughly 40 locations which take part in the jazz fest spread out across the city, with some outdoors, including at Nathan Phillips Square. The feature “indoor” venues this year will be in the Koerner Hall TELUS Centre and the Phoenix Concert Theatre, although many shows will be held at restaurants, pubs, lounges, hotels, halls, cafes, bistros and even shopping malls around the city. With previous performers like Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzie Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Sonny Rollins, Ray Charles, Sun Ra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Dr. John, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson you can see why this festival has become one of the premier jazz festivals in North America!
Click this link to find out who are this year’s fantastic artists, and where and when you can hear them, visit: TD Toronto Jazz Festival
He was the guideline of my life;
He was a moral and outstanding man.
He had one great love – for his wife,
And through all trials and troubles, “Yes, we can!”
Was a watchword of my Dad.
His was a gentle spirit, with kind and loving heart,
He gave with no demand of recompense.
He was unique, oh, yes, he stood apart,
He fought the fight; he lived with common sense,
And he has left a great mark on the world.
I heard him grumble sometimes, but each quirk
Was part and parcel of what made him dear.
Right to the end, he took joy from his work;
His hand was steady, and his eye was clear.
He had a pure heart.
I believe that God has placed him very high,
Because God must have loved him very much,
But oh, Dad! It’s so hard to say goodbye!
And it’s so hard to know I’ll never touch
Your dear hand again.
© E Joyce Finn/Collie
I MISS YOU, DAD
There were songs that you sang,
and deeds of derring-do;
There were roads that you traveled,
That I never knew.
There were hills that you climbed,
There were trails that you blazed;
There were beauties you saw,
Where I never gazed.
There was was a prairie wind,
And a prairie bird,
You heard the song,
But I never heard.
There’s so much I didn’t know about you, Dad —
So many days that we have spent apart.
I long for walks and talks we’ve never had
I miss you, from the bottom of my heart.
© E Joyce Finn/Collie
Thank you, Father, for my father
Thank you for my lovely Dad.
Thank you for my flood of feelings,
For the memories we’ve had
Thank you for the pain I’m feeling,
Thank you for the years and years
Of the blessing of my father,
Thank you, through my many tears.
Let me be a tribute to him,
Let me make his spirit glad,
That he has me for a daughter,
Wanting to be like her Dad.
Lord, the parents that you gave me,
Are the best that there can be;
Thank you, Father, for this blessing,
Thank you, God, for blessing me.
© E Joyce Finn/Collie
Hi! It’s my Mother’s daughter again. To contribute to Mom’s “Daddy” blog I’ve chosen a few videos. The first is a heart-warming song about a Father’s love for his just-married “little” girl, and also his message to her new groom. I get misty when I listen as it brings back emotional memories of my own Dad. Since June is not only when we celebrate Father’s Day, but also a traditional month couples choose to wed, I thought this video would fit right in with the theme of this blog. Heartland – I Loved Her First “Heartland is an American country music band from Huntsville, Alabama. Their debut single “I Loved Her First” topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart in 2006”. (info from Wikipedia/video from dudedudette3 on YouTube)
Three members of our own Toronto Blue Jays baseball team pay a touching tribute to their Fathers in this clip. It was filmed by SportChek at the home of The Jays, the spectacular Rogers Centre (often still affectionately referred to by it’s original name “The Sky Dome”). This video brought back wonderful memories for me of glorious summer days spent with my Dad at the Dome watching the Jays. Funny thing – every time I went to a game with my Dad the Jays always seemed to win. Miss you Dad! Toronto Blue Jays’ Father’s Day Surprise “Every MLB player got his start playing catch in the yard with his Dad. This Father’s Day, Sport Chek brings Toronto Blue Jays players Brett Cecil, Casey Janssen and Steve Delabar a surprise visit from the men that were their first coach and are still their biggest fan. Happy Father’s Day!” (info & video from Sport Chek on YouTube).
By chance, I ran across this wonderful one minute homage to Dads “answering” their children’s call produced by Dove. I couldn’t resist. Bet you can’t either! Calls For Dad – #RealDadMoments “Three quarters of Dads say they are responsible for their child’s emotional well-being, while only 20% see this role reflected in media. It’s time to acknowledge the caring moments of fatherhood that often go overlooked.” (info & video from dovemencareus on YouTube) My final selection is a nod to my Dad’s great taste in music. My earliest memories include a soundtrack of tunes he and my Mom loved, which contributed to my appreciation of all music. Jazz was one of Dad’s particular favourites so here’s a romantic British pop song performed in great jazz style by the Stan Getz Quartet with Roy Hanes and young Gary Burton & Steve Swallow. Although I’m partial to Getz’s well known smooth Bossa Nova sound, I think you’ll love this old “jazzy” standard as much as I do. Please look them all up on Wikipedia and YouTube to learn and enjoy more. 1967 – Stan Getz Quartet perform “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” live on BBCs “Jazz Goes to College” (h/t AndreuVilarJuanola – YouTube) My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.” (Harmon Killebrew)
One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters. (George Herbert 1640)
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. (Ruth E Renkel)
I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much. (Hedy Lamarr)
I love my father as the stars — he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. (Terri Guillemets)
My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne. (Hank Williams, Jr.)
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. (Jim Valvano)
When my father didn’t have my hand… he had my back. (Linda Poindexter)
A man’s worth is measured by how he parents his children. What he gives them, what he keeps away from them, the lessons he teaches and the lessons he allows them to learn on their own. (Lisa Rogers)
The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family. (Reed Markham)
It is a wise father that knows his own child. (William Shakespeare)
I am who I am because of you, Dad. it’s because of you that I’m awesome. (unknown)
My father was my teacher, but most importantly he was a great dad. (Beau Bridges)
My father was like the rock, the guy you went to with every problem. (Gwyneth Paltrow)
My father loved people, children and pets. (Tony Visconti)
My dad was my best friend and greatest role model. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend. (Tiger Woods)
My dad drilled it in my head…”If you want it bad enough, and you’re willing to make the sacrifices, you can do it. But first you have to believe in yourself.” (Jennie Finch)
My dad said to me, “Work hard and be patient.” It was the best advice he ever gave me. You have to put the hours in. (Simon Cowell)
Dads who are fully engaged with their kids overwhelmingly tend to produce children who believe in themselves and live full lives. (Tony Dungy)
We all started snowboarding in the beginning as a family just to be closer together, go on trips. It was our soccer, but instead of Dad yelling at me from the sideline he is there riding with me and hitting the jumps even before I am hitting them. (Shaun White)
From my dad I learned to be good to people, to always be honest and straightforward. I learned hard work and perseverance. (Luke Bryan)
All of my high school male teachers were WWII and/or Korean War veterans. They taught my brothers and me the value of service to our country and reinforced what our dad had shown us about the meaning of service. (Oliver North)
My dad used to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning and hit me ground balls and tell me, “Don’t be afraid to excel. Don’t be afraid to be great.” (Russell Wilson)
Every morning, my dad would have me looking in the mirror and repeat, “Today is going to be a great day; I can, and I will.” (Gina Rodriguez)
My Dad is my hero. (Harry Connick, Jr.)
My dad’s great. He’s my biggest supporter. He’s always told me that whatever I choose to do, I can do it. I just gotta put my mind to it. (Apolo Ohno)
My dad was Superman to me, and in my mind he always will be. (Artie Lange)
My dad is a really honest, hardworking, straight guy. (Joe Lando)
Our dad hugged us and kissed us so much that some friends and relatives complained that he was going to turn us into sissies… but my dad didn’t care. Let them raise their kids in a reserved and reticent way. He grew up in Israel, and his boys were going to be hugged and kissed by their father and know they were loved. (Ezekiel Emanuel)
My dad’s my best mate, and he always will be. (Cher Lloyd)
My dad loves being around all kinds of animals. He’s the one who got me to be a really big animal lover. (Paris Hilton)
(My Dad) is my hero for giving me that need to run a business and for having enormous confidence in me. (Gary Vaynerchuk)
Going to the theater is such a joyous experience. My dad would take my sister and me to plays when we were very young, like six or seven years old. (Julia Roberts). Hope you enjoyed the post! Happy Father’s Day! Signing off…. ej