What do you first think of when you hear or read the word, Dad? Do you think of your own father? Or do you think of a religious or historical figure such as Moses or Jesus, George Washington or Nelson Mandella? Do fictional characters come to mind from great literature, such as Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird?” Or do examples from popular culture come to mind such as Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), Homer Simpson, or Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont)? What about any of the classic movie dads like Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) from the “National Lampoon Vacation” movies, or George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) from “It’s a Wonderful Life”?
This Fathers Day, being recently remarried, I don’t have to face it wondering what to do and who will teach my boys to remember and respect me. But, in previous years, while I was encouraging them to make or buy Mother’s Day and birthday cards for their mother, who had abandoned them, there seemed to be no one to help them with the same task for me.
This is no feel-sorry-for-myself reflection, but a conundrum many single parents face when their birthdays or other holidays come about. I was vigilant in reminding them to remember their mother and her mother, not because she deserved anything from them, but because it taught them to respect parents, other relatives, and learn the right thing to do when they got older.