At the age of 47, I am blessed with many things in my life: my health, close friends, a thriving consulting firm, my dog, and let’s be honest, my full head of hair. But most of all, I am blessed to still have my father in my life who has been happily married to my mom for almost 53 years. Father Hesburgh, former Notre Dame University president, once famously said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” This is one thing, among many, my father has done for me and my siblings. So on this Father’s Day Sunday, I honor my father, the best man I have ever known.
I thank my Dad for teaching me the concept of “Cumplir”, a spanish verb for “to complete”. The idea that you always follow through with what you said you would do – to honor your commitment and know that your word is your name. He taught me to respect, to value integrity and character and he did so by his own example. My father taught me to be proud of where you came from. To always appreciate your heritage and the culture of my ancestors. Like most Latinos, family is key. Not to mention, he also gave me a pretty cool name.
In today’s progressive world, the representation of a father figure is rapidly changing, and I believe, for the better. Take, for example, the recent JCPenney advertisement that once again boiled the blood of One Million Moms. It features two real-life gay fathers and their children – a powerful, yet simple image of a family. This powerful image will hopefully soon be so not extraordinary. Traditionally, roles in a family were strictly defined by conventional values, but a father, or two, is still a central figure in a family structure.
Regardless of the method – whether it be biologically, through adoption or the wonders of modern science, a Father is a key figure in a child’s life and development. A Father is the coach, the authority figure, the disciplinarian, the one who teaches you right from wrong, respect, and other values. He’s the one you look to when you hit the home run, the one you call when you get the raise/promotion at work, the one you ask to borrow the car from. Fathers are there to protect you and push you to your limit. In some cases, the absence of a father leads to admiring another male figure in your life, perhaps a Grandfather, Uncle, brother or even a teacher. The sense of security that a father figure provides is comforting, and subsequently, gives the father figure a sense of strength and courage.
This Father’s Day, say thanks and send love to a man in your life who has provided you with wisdom, protection, support and confidence to be who you are today. And give him a hug, not a handshake. He deserves this.
And there it is…