NOTE: At the end of this post, I'll tell you the rules for my Fathers Day 2013 Contest: The winner will receive two field-level tickets to a regular season Yankees game in the Bronx (date TBA); round trip airfare for two to New York for said game; and the lucky dad will receive one of the official MLB bases used in the Yankees game the winning pair attends.
My father died when I was eleven, and was in and out of my life before that, so I don't have too many solid memories of him.
And while I was super close with my mother, I never felt like I knew "the whole story" with her. I think my mom operated under the "I didn’t want to tell you because you weren’t ready" mentality, and we never quite got there.
In anticipation of Father's Day, I've been thinking a lot about what being a father means to me, and a big part of it is sharing as much of my life as possible with my two kids.
This meant bringing them to work as much as was possible (and realistic) while they were growing up, and it also meant letting them have a voice in where we'd go on vacation, or to eat - or any of our family plans, for that matter. And it's meant being open with my children emotionally (within reason of course).
Being a father has also meant passing on "life lessons." I've always emphasized three "golden rules" with my kids:
1. Be a good person to everyone.
2. Be a good brother and son with your family.
3. Do your best in school.
Those were our only "non-negotiable" rules. We drilled them into our kids very early on.
And it's very satisfying to see what generous adults they've become, what good sports they are at all times.
But being a father is not just about how I "parent" my kids; it's also about how they influence me!
My kids, in addition to my wife, serve as my accountability police.
They keep me honest by goofing on me what seems like all of the time. They help me to not take myself too seriously.
It’s good to have people who know you and are completely open and honest with you. Who can critique you.
My daughter often calls me out when I tell her a story: "I can't believe you said that to that person!" (She also helps me dress sometimes.)
For me, the bottom line is that being a father is about more than the love I have for my kids: It's the teaching that only my my wife and I can provide them - and it's the learning that we can only get from them.
FATHERS DAY 2013 CONTEST RULES:
1. Subscribe to this blog by entering your email address > HERE <. (If you're already subscribed, you can skip this step.)
2. Leave a comment in the comments section below, telling me what being a father - or having a father - means to you. (Maximum: 100 words! But it doesn't have to be that long!)
3. One great, subscribed commenter will win the plane tix, Yankees tix, and the game-used base!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY! CONTEST CLOSES AT 12:01 AM, EASTERN STANDARD TIME, JUNE 15th, 2013.
I absolutely love my father, and will use him as my example of what being a father means to me. To me, it means making sacrifices that come to no benefit for you (sacrifices that only benefit your kid). Being a father means playing catch in the backyard with your kid, it means driving him to little league when you have a million other things to do. It means being there for your children always.