It is Father’s Day this weekend. It may be something of a manufactured holiday, like Mother’s Day, but we will take it! It is an excuse to spend time with the family. Excuse is not the right word. Spending time with your family should not require an “excuse.” Whatever it is, it is time together as a family and that is something we cannot get enough of, ever.
We used to joke that Mother’s Day was when Dad took the kids out, let Mom sleep in, and pampered her the rest of the day. On Father’s Day, he took the kids so he could spend quality time with them. He would do chores with them, and then end the day cooking on the grill. At least when we were growing up this is how it seemed.
To have a child does not require any specific skill set. However, to be a parent requires you to be a teacher, listener, protector, healer, nurturer, and many other skills. You are a master gardener while at the same time being a gentle tamer of a wild animal. Being a good parent also requires love, patience, and understanding. Did we say patience? Being a parent, a good parent, and especially a great parent requires an undrainable well of patience.
Mark Twain famously wrote: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” How true. We witnessed it with our own parents and we see it now in our children. It is inherent in the child raising process. Done correctly this process produces children that we can all be proud of.
Raising children is not easy. There are many distractions we face every day to being good parents. In our community of high achievers (and sometimes over achievers), we can, without knowing it, create an “achievement gap.” This is when we, the parents, may be super successful in whatever field we work in, but it may come at the expense of quality interaction with our children. That wild animal will not tame itself. It needs hands-on parenting.
Since everyone knows how to raise children except those that actually have children, we offer this…as parents as we achieve, we must ensure our child achieves as well. We must afford them the same opportunity for success that we are creating for ourselves. It requires balance. That can be difficult. There is an expression: “The extremes are easy, finding the balance is difficult.”
So perhaps we do need a reminder every year, whether you are a Mother or a Father, to take a break and spend some time with the family. A little nudge to ensure an achievement gap does not exist is a good thing.
What is there to do on Father’s Day? What isn’t there to do. We are blessed in our community to have an abundance of options on any given Sunday. There are the trails at the Audubon Center to explore. If you are looking for a picnic option, you cannot go wrong with Polo at Conyers Farm. (A little secret, the lobster rolls there are some of the best we have had outside of Maine.) Of course, there is Tod’s Point for walking, swimming, and picnicking as well – the list goes on. The important thing is to find something enjoyable to do as a family. Father’s Day is not just once a year in our family, it is every day. So is Mother’s Day for that matter. We find that is not an extreme but the balance to raising kids.