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June 14, 2002

Happy Father's Day

Bob Miller

This Sunday, June 16, marks another Father's Day. I want to share what qualities a dad should possess.

Woodrow Wilson said that "character is a by-product; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty". A father should always lead by example. He should be honest, tolerant, forgiving, spiritual, and yes FUN!.

Dear Abby maybe put it best: "You are what you are when nobody is looking." Your children will learn by what you are and what you do far more than what you tell them.

Here is another fact about being a dad. You can't father a child and be done with your responsibility. So many men will walk away today from their children without giving it a second thought. These children will never understand why. What did they do wrong? Why doesn't daddy love them?

Many men just don't want to lose their so called "independence," their individuality. They want to be able to go to the ball game or some exotic vacation or bar hopping on the weekend. What it all boils down to is that they don't want to be tied down! That's fine; then don't father a child!

When that child comes into the world, you are responsible. You won't lose your identity. You just get a new one. You don't lose your freedom. You gain the freedom to slide down a sliding board or swing on a swing again without people looking at you weird. The bar you happen to frequent is now the dairy bar for a milkshake. Look at it this way, you won't have the hangover in the morning.

To the issue of my individuality, I choose to be Erin's and Bryan's daddy. Children need a father figure in their lives. A group of 300 seventh and eighth grade boys kept accurate records of how much time their dads spent with them over a two week period. During an entire week, the average time a father and son spent alone together was 7 minutes. Children today need someone to guide them, teach them, and love them unconditionally. They need their Dad.

Studies have proven that children that don't have fathers in their lives aren't doing as well in society. Another problem facing children and fathers is the fact that some women are having children with no intention of involving the father whatsoever.

Celebrities are applauded for doing this and they are put on the cover of magazines for going on their own. This sends a message to other women that fathers are not needed in today politically correct world. These women will eventually realize what a big mistake they have made. But by then it will be too late, and it will be at the expense of their child.

So what does a dad do?

His main job is to be the spiritual leader in the house.

He helps put the food on the table (guys that means sometimes you have to cook it) then sits down to eat it with his family.

It means putting down the newspaper to read "Cat in the Hat" for the one millionth time.

It's teaching them how to throw a softball or a baseball, then going to their games and cheering them on - even if it means freezing or sweating. You don't know how many times my kids look at Lynda or me just to make sure we are still there. My son will stand out in his position and wink and smile at me. Erin is a great little catcher for her softball team, so we would sit right behind her and encourage her. I admit sometimes I think I embarrassed her, but she knew I was there!

It is being there for a music festival with hundreds of other kids and sweating in the heat of a gym while you hear hot cross buns.

It is checking under the bed and in the closets to make sure no monsters lurk. It's getting up at 1 A. M. and going to pick up your child from the sleepover because they want to come home and you told them they could call anytime.

It's putting up with Barney on the TV or Rap on the radio.

It's taking your daughter on her first date so she will know how all other dates should treat her.

It's staying up and pretending you fell asleep on the couch, but in reality you just wanted to make sure they got home safe.

It means never having a new car so you can scrimp and save for college. It's teaching them the value of a dollar.

It's teaching them that your word means something.

It means that when you 10-year-old wants to talk, it's time for you to listen.

It means showing them how much you love their mother. By helping around the house, holding her hand, showing her affection.

Harry Truman said "the best advice to give to your children is to find out what they want to do and advise them to do it".

One of the most important charges we have as fathers, and with the help of the moms, is to teach our children how to get along without us. I mean isn't that our true Job? To prepare them for the world. If we want our kids to change the world for the better, then we better change how we treat our kids today.

So this Sunday when you get the tie, or the crayon stick picture of you, I hope that you proudly display the gifts of affection from your children. You can hang up the beautiful crayon masterpiece, or wear your tie to the important meeting on Monday.

Is their such a thing as a perfect father? Only one, that's our heavenly Father. He gave us a great blueprint to follow. But here on earth, it is hard to be the perfect dad. I know, as I have been writing this, I find myself thinking I need to do more of that myself.

I guess I'm a little selfish because if my children were asked, I would want Erin and Bryan Miller to say that the world's greatest dad happens to be named Bob.

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