Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. By welcoming your ideas and sharing your stories, we want to help you strengthen your relationships with the most important people in your life.
Today, we celebrate dads and everything they do for us. For a long time, they were the family’s primary provider and often served as the household disciplinarian. In recent years, their role has pivoted into caregiving and playing a bigger role in raising the family.
As we wrote last week, one thing hasn’t changed about fatherhood: They’ve always been providers of important lessons as we grow up and become adults. Dads are role models who show us how to respond to whatever life throws in our direction.
After sharing the story of how Jim’s friend and neighbor, Anthony Scaramucci, taught lessons in resiliency to his children, we invited readers to share stories of their dads. As is often the case, we were overwhelmed by the responses. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share such warm and personal memories.
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to share a few of our favorites from this community.
Stories of strength
Laurie recalled her father’s strength after the death of her 12-year-old brother when she was just 11. She said it was a very difficult time for her family, but her dad was their rock.
I remember that day my brother died and wondered how my father got the strength to move forward after our whole world had been ripped apart. I believe I get my strength from my dad, and no matter the situation, no matter how harrowing it may be, you must go on, for yourself and others around you.
Another community member, Barb, wrote about her dad, who was born in 1919 to Ukrainian immigrants. After his father lost everything to the Great Depression, he was committed to a psychiatric facility in 1929. Barb’s dad, then 10, quit school to take care of his mom and siblings. With the onset of World War II, he was drafted and courageously served his country.
Dad was the recipient of many medals, which he never told us about. He didn’t think it was special; it was just doing his job the best he could. He eventually became an engineer. He never complained about his struggles, never boasted about his many accomplishments. He just lived his life quietly and with dignity. He taught us so much about honesty, perseverance, strength, and grace. I miss him every single day.
Two community members wrote about how their dad taught them lessons about diversity. Alec shared how his father – a World War II veteran – brought two African American orphans into their home.
Dad’s message to us was to never judge anyone by the color of his or her skin, or the country they came from, but only look at the quality of their character. Those boys who stayed with us taught us how much alike we all were and that we could have great fun together.
Similarly, Yolanda shared how in the 1970s her family lived in a segregated Midwest city. Her dad recognized the importance of diversity and enrolled her in a co-ed school that welcomed people from across the country.
This school was not just an education that included academics but also taught acceptance, tolerance, and embracing different cultures. My life has been rich because of my high school experience. I have thrived in our multi-racial and cultural world.
Thanks again Dad for allowing me to learn such a wonderful lesson.
Lessons for dads from dads
As fathers and grandpas, we’re all too aware of how quickly time flies when raising children. One moment, you’re changing diapers. And before you know it, you’re sending them off to college. Where does the time go?
It turns out, there just isn’t much time, especially if you’re a dad who spends weekdays in the office. Jim’s friend, Justin Batt, did the math and discovered there are just 940 weekends between a child’s birth and their 18th birthday. And if you remove the weekends before the child’s fifth birthday (when most start remembering things), the number of weekends drops to under 700.
How do you make the most of it?
Another family’s perspective
In this week’s Celebrations Chatter podcast, Jim spoke with Justin about his book, Daddy Saturday: How to Be an Intentional Dad to Raise Good Kids Who Become Great Adults. The secret – like a lot of things in life – involves planning.
Justin wrote the book while raising his three children and realizing how little time he has with them before they grow up. He came up with the idea of “Daddy Saturdays,” which are single days of activities aimed at forging lasting impressions in our children’s lives. The lesson of these intentional experiences is that we can always be better, we can always be more thoughtful, we can always be more intentional, and we can always be more present.
We began planning our Saturdays, and by midweek the kids were saying, ‘Dad, what are we doing on Saturday?’ Not only did we reclaim Saturday, but we came up with the name of Daddy Saturday. It reframed my entire approach to parenting.
Adventures with dad
Justin points out that the activities do not have to be epic or expensive every week or ever. Simple things like a daddy-daughter date night, a sporting event, or driving lessons all work. “It’s just time alone that provides a very personal experience to learn more about one another,” Justin says.
Jim agreed as he recalled spending time in the car with his dad, a painting contractor, as they drove to trade conventions around New York State each summer. For Jim, those were very memorable as it was dedicated time to talk to his dad about life and business. At the trade shows, he could see how his dad interacted with other businessmen and friends.
Those little moments left an outsized impression on Jim, and it reminded him of a quote from the famous poet Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Happy Father’s Day,
Chris and Jim