In Honor of Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is June 21st and this article serves as a tribute to all dads, as we acknowledge their role as a valuable asset to a child’s education. This journey involves the collaborative effort of school staff, the student, and parents.

In my 30-year career as a high school counselor, I can attest to the underestimated role of fathers in education.  In addition to celebrating the presence of the active caregiver, praise should also be given to those individuals who must assume the paternal role in the absence of a father.

I had fathers initiate parent-teacher-student conferences, pick up a sick child at school, drop off money and other important items (often forgotten) from home, attend school events, actively participate in the PTSA and booster club, drive their child to school, occasionally embellish a story for the child, and ask for help with adolescent and other pertinent school counseling issues.  The effort was genuine; otherwise, they could have been elsewhere.  They wanted to be engaged in their child’s education and life, and a little recognition was greatly appreciated.

Presently as an educational consultant, I have fathers, again, actively engaged in their child’s educational journey.  Some initiate the contact for assistance, attend the consultations and/or drive the student to my office, ask questions and pursue frequent communication.  Whereas in the majority of meetings, concerns relate to academic achievement and college planning; sometimes, a father may need a consultation to help with parenting skills.  As you know, teens are not the easiest species to understand.

Fathers are not perfect, and as with cookies, not all dads are identical.  They are creatively formatted with unique personalities, world views, opinions, motivation, physical features, discipline theories, and idiosyncrasies which I have learned to respect.  And by the way, aren’t mothers uniquely programmed with a variety of behaviors?

Parenting can be a challenge and some fathers consider it an easier task with sons than daughters.  If this is your experience, do not be upset about it; instead, show some maturity and reach out to him.  Sometimes parents need a little help establishing a comfort zone with their children.

Occasionally teens limit their dad’s role in the family; he’s only viewed as “the money man.”  Yes, his support is an asset for security.  However, allow him to expand his responsibilities by supporting your academic, personal, and social development.  It usually precedes the big, broad smiles you see at graduations.

It’s easy to give presents; a word of thanks can be more genuine.  How about surprising dad with a hug on Father’s Day and saying, “Thank you dad for coming to my game,” or, “Thanks for supporting me at school,” or “Thanks for helping me with my problem.”

Sadly, I’ve noticed that some teens do not have the “old school” passion for gratitude; they do not feel it’s necessary to say, “Thank you.”  Too bad, because your father could benefit from your encouragement on his special day.

Dad will cherish whatever you do for him today; words and actions last forever.

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