National Parents Day

One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a parent. There are a lot of people who have children but that does not make them a parent. A parent is always someone who puts themselves second to their children, who see to the needs of their children even beyond their own, and is willing to teach, nurture and love unconditionally.

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But a parent must also be able to see the flaws in their children and dish out discipline when required. A child that gets everything they want, when they want it, without having to do anything to earn it, is not being a good parent and will lead to issues both now, and later.

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I have seen so many parents that want to be their kids best friend. That is not being a parent either. The children of parents that are “friends” with their children are more likely to let them get away with things they shouldn’t and not learn that to get respect, you have to give respect.

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And when it’s time to let go, a parent will know instinctively, a friend won’t. In the animal word the adult animal protects, feeds, and teaches their young until it is time for the young to move on. Then they  say goodbye and are likely never to see each other again. Fortunately as humans, we do not have to suffer the same fate but there is still something we need to learn from it. While we should always want to keep our children safe and secure, there are times when they will have to choose for themselves and we will not always be there when they have to make choices.

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So yes it is a job. Today was probably created by some group to sell more cards and gifts but that idea never caught on. It is simply a day, recognized by President Clinton, as day for children to honor their parents by spending a little time with them. For the true parent, there is no better gift.

How to celebrate – Thank your parents for all they have done for you. If your parents are no longer living, remember the good times with them and all the things they did for you. Take your parents to lunch or dinner or do a cookout for them.

June 18th Father’s Day

I am not qualified to talk about your father, or any one’s father, other than my own. I literally owe him everything. He made me who I am, both the good and the bad, and though I have not always agreed with him I have always trusted him and loved him without condition, just as he has me.

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He taught me things I did not even know he taught me. (Very possibly he didn’t know either!) He has always surprised me with the littlest of items but ones that have meant the most to me. Anyone can give you a gift, anyone can spend money on you and you will appreciate it but only a few people can give you things you cannot buy anywhere.

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We take them for granted. They are sort meant to be that way. Dads do not want credit or awards, they just want their children to grow up happy and contribute something to life. That might sound a little odd but as I get older I understand what that means. Living without giving anything, participating in life is not living at all, it is existing. And dads don’t just want their children to exist.

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My father spent his younger years as a farmer, growing things and working hard. As a child he made his children work in the fields, not doing anything hard, but doing something to contribute. At the time I hated every second of it, but now they are some of the fondest memories I have. It makes me think he knew that all along.

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So here’s to my father, and I hope to all of yours. He is the greatest man I have ever known and I hope he realizes that, though I bet he would disagree. It’s what we hold in our hearts that matters and in mine, my dad will always be my hero, my mentor and… well… my dad.

How to celebrate – Enjoy your father today, or more importantly let him enjoy you. Don’t give your dad a tie, he already has enough! Think of a gift that will mean something to him, more than just spending money make it something worthwhile.