Updated: Jun 16, 2022
Like many of you, I have thoroughly enjoyed movies based on The Avengers’ Marvel Comic series. Who doesn’t love a Superhero?
My favorite, hands down, is Captain America. This clean cut, perfect leader who represents the U.S. in battles to protect, shield in hand, is unafraid to fiercely face the toughest situations, go capeless, and “handle it” (not to mention, actor Chris Evans who portrays “Cap” is pretty easy on the eyes).
But I digress . . .
In reality, we have our own Superheroes in the form of First Responders: Military, Firefighters, Law Enforcement, EMT’s, ER professionals, Chaplains, Journalists, to name a few. We heavily depend upon and thoroughly appreciate these folks who tirelessly provide service around the clock, sometimes in the most horrific conditions; and in many cases far from their loved ones for extended periods of time. Plus, we all know most of these folks aren’t getting rich off of serving the public.
Then there are Educators, Clergy, Child Care professionals, Artists, Musicians, Writers, Therapists, Coaches, Letter Carriers, Landscapers, Healers, Energy Workers, Disaster Relief, Trades professionals, Business owners, Administrators, Technology pros; (insert gigantic deep breath) and yes, even Politicians (I see you wincing as you read. But there are a few good ones). Oh my precious Dear Hearts! What would we do without them?
To say “It Takes a Village” is an understatement.
It takes an Army!
Yet, there is one Superhero I have admired, loved, and depended upon my entire life.
My Dear Dear Hearts: Good fathers are the unsung heroes of all that is protection, preservation, provision, professor, and prosperity in our lives. And they don’t get enough credit for who they are and all they do for us.
I realize my great fortune in having a father who was a gentleman from the heart, sincerely wanted a family, was intentional and passionate about it, and believed being a parent was his True Calling. An engineer by trade, he worked hard to provide. Yet, ahead of his time, he determined early in his role as a father to find balance; so he could spend time with the family he loved. This was back in the day before employees could work from home or negotiate flex time. He passed up promotions because it would have meant spending more time away from us, yet he earned enough to provide ample income, and my Mom and he were a team when it came to managing a household. Without fail, he consistently supported each of my siblings and I; readily willing to quietly listen, gently ask the tough questions, and impart wisdom with love. A goofy dad-like but strong sense of humor, he played as hard as he worked. One of my most vivid memories was of him coming home from work, dog-tired and sometimes even with a headache; yet still, he would lie on the floor and allow us to climb all over him as though he were our personal human jungle gym. He was so wise, my Dad. Once, when I pulled one of my numerous daredevilish stunts on my bicycle and wound up accidentally smashing a neighbor’s mailbox (knocked myself out!), my Dad came and picked me up, carried me home, and reconciled the busted mailbox with our neighbor. I was never punished. He determined that, most likely, I would never do that again. He was correct! It was his first lesson in teaching me to face consequences for my actions, think before saying or doing something stupid, and owning my own crazy behavior. The incident was never held over my head; in fact, he never spoke of it again.
When my son was no more than seven years old, we were visiting my folks. He kept begging for twenty-nine cents to buy an airplane kit made from cheap balsa wood from the hardware store. After telling him “no” countless times, Dad sensed my frustration and asked if he could intervene. My response: “Please do!”
Dad told my son: “I will let you borrow my push broom. Go four houses up where they have a chat driveway - they know me at that house - tell them you’re my grandson and ask if you can sweep all the chat from the street back onto their driveway for a quarter. Come back here, don’t forget my broom, and I’ll match whatever you earn. You’ll have more than enough to buy your airplane kit.”
My son returned two hours later, dragging the giant push broom behind his small frame, not holding a mere quarter, but with two dollars tucked into his pocket. He had circled the neighborhood and repeated the instruction with seven more houses which had chat driveways. My father, true to his word, gave my son two more dollars. My son bought his kit and saved the remaining money. To this day, he is a hard worker and shrewd businessman. I wholeheartedly credit my father.
Dad would be the first person to admit his own faults. He wasn’t perfect. And he certainly told more than his share of corny but clean eye-rolling “Dad Jokes”, mostly in the form of one-liners. But he was the perfect father for me. The stories of my father’s heroism to each family member, neighbors, and friends are endless. I truly could write a book about him. And one day, maybe I shall.
Perhaps you weren’t as fortunate as me, Dear Hearts. If not, I hope you have, or have had a gentleman in your life who has been a positive father figure for you: a stepdad, friend, teacher, uncle, grandfather, coach, brother, neighbor, pastor?
My father is no longer physically living on this earth. But he’s with me every step I take. His wisdom and love are his legacy, and I still celebrate this legendary Superhero.
This Father’s Day - and every day - I urge you, Dear Hearts, to fully celebrate your unsung hero(es): the men in your life who care, provide, protect, prepare, and wholly contribute to your total well-being. They deserve our respect, admiration, appreciation and kindness.
Happy Father’s Day!