Recognizing the contributions of our fathers | Editorial

This coming Sunday is a day to honor the father figures in our lives.

The modern definition of fatherhood has changed over the past few decades. In the wake of the women’s movement and a whole-hearted, holistic understanding of parenting, dads are invited to be much more than financial providers. Father involvement has increased dramatically, and according to Contemporary Pediatrics, “growing evidence shows the positive influence that fathers have on the development and well-being of their children. Longitudinal data published over the past decade or so support that paternal involvement from the prenatal stage through a child’s lifetime benefits the psychosocial and behavioral development of their children, often in ways different from and complementary to maternal involvement.”

We asked our readers to share how their fathers have shaped their lives.

• My father demonstrated, by example, very salient life skills. My father taught me the value of hard work. He taught me to always be accountable, stand by my word and pay back anything owed very quickly. My father instilled in me the importance of being debt-free.

• I learned true perseverance, through anything, is possible. I learned the difference between wisdom and knowledge. He also taught me critical thinking and problem solving

• I learned how to be sweet and how not to be sour, how to choose my battles and to honor myself. I learned play from my dad, dancing and singing and laughing, enjoyment of music and family and above all, love.

• My adored father taught me, by example, the joys of loving worthy people and all animals. He also taught me that money can indeed buy happiness, depending upon how you spend it.

• My dad taught me honesty, caring and thoughtfulness.

• My dad showed me that everyone is deserving of understanding and compassion but not everyone deserves to be in your life; you are who you associate with; you aren’t looking forward if you are looking in the rearview mirror; men don’t know anything until after 40; if you say you are going to do something, then do it; saying yes to love in your life will open doors; and if you work hard and find a daily purpose, you’ll feel better about yourself when you fall asleep each night.

• My father told me, “That’s the law of the jungle, little horsey baby.”

• My dads taught me to respect everyone unless they give you a reason to do otherwise. They taught me discipline; how to be independent; and they instilled a love of traveling — especially driving.

• Never cross a picket line.

• Chess and egalitarianism.

• To put women and children first.

• Before he died, my dad told me, “It’s not what you believe, it’s THAT you believe.”

• My dad showed me that when we find ourselves challenged by difficult personality types, sometimes compassion is truly the best response.

• My dad, Robert James Craig, a WWII, polio and cancer survivor, taught me the importance of optimism and the value of a kind word. And, perhaps because he was an artist, a good eye for placement. Miss him every day.