Today is Father’s Day in the UK. And in the USA. And in many other countries. Not every country…but many. There is more consistency about Father’s Day than Mother’s Day. I don’t understand the inconsistency on Mother’s Day. But at least most countries celebrate both days.
I am a very proud father and a very happy father. When I look at my children I find myself remembering and wondering. I remember what they were like and what we did together. I wonder what else they will do and what else they will achieve. And I only ever smile. At both sets of thoughts. The past and the future. Perhaps that’s what pride is? How you feel in those moments. How those thoughts make you feel. The depth and strength of those feelings. Or is it love?
Sometimes I find myself wondering what my father thinks and what he feels when he looks at me, or my brother or my sisters, or our children. Sometimes I wonder if I should ask him. But I don’t need to. I know. Not everything needs to be said.
But I do tell him; and not just on Father’s Day and not just by a card. I don’t buy him gifts any more – he doesn’t need any more ties or cufflinks – but I do tell him. I tell him that I love him and that I am proud of him…and that I know.
And I see myself in my children. More specifically I see myself in things my children do that amaze me and inspire me. And yes, this is one of the prerogatives of being the father.
I have always tried to encourage my children to make positive decisions…to follow their hearts and their heads. Our education system involves lots of choices – courses, subjects, locations – decide what you enjoy most…what inspires you most…and use those decisions to make your choices. Ask opinion and seek advice wherever possible – from people who know you and love you – but make your own choices.
And even now I can hear these same words coming from my father. The self-same encouragement he gave me as I was making education and career and life choices. And his focus was always on encouragement and never on advice. He knew I had more than enough advice from other sources. Advice from teachers…teachers who told me – including my school chemistry teacher – that choosing chemistry to study at University would be the worst decision I could ever make.
And yet everything I have done and everyone I met – including the person I fell in love with, married, and became a father with – everything I have done, or contributed to, or had influence on…came from that decision. And other comparable key decisions and moments in my life and my career. Choices made based on what I enjoy, what inspires me and who inspire me.
Of course, not everything worked out quite as well as we would have hoped. Stuff happens…or does not happen. It always does. But that feeling of positive choice is such a good starting point.
I want to be important to my children; but more than that, I want to be there for them…to be there when they need me. To encourage them when they need encouragement; to advise them if they want advice; to hold their hand when they need a hand. For them to know I am with them and am there for them, as they make their own choices…in their own lives.
My children amaze me and they inspire me. I love being a father today. I love being a father every day.