I don’t know about you but my dad is pretty boss. Like he’s probably the best guy I know. You can tell him anything and I think that shows how well he raised me and my siblings. A lot of dads try to be a big, scary authority figure whilst their kids are going up. Maybe it’s just the crushing pressures of hyper masculinity but I’ve never understood that mentality. Why would you want your kids to be scared of you? That doesn’t create love or respect, it just creates fear. That’s not an inviting environment to express support or kindness. At least, I don’t think it is. Maybe you think I’m wrong. But that’s just not been my experience of fatherhood.
In my life, fatherhood is about love and generosity and compassion and selflessness. But I guess that’s just cos that’s who my dad is. He’s a quiet guy but he’s full of ideas, opinions and intelligence. He taught me that words and ideas can change the world, that books are precious. That learning is paramount no matter what your age. He taught me to open my heart to other people’s experiences in the world and to always be an ally. He taught me how to take life with a pinch of salt and to laugh about what we can’t change. He taught me what it means to put your family above everything else and how to never lose sight of what is important to you. He taught me how to be authentic.
And don’t get me wrong, the man can be an ass. He can try my patience like almost no other. For anyone who knows our Terry, you know that to be true. But you also know the amazing man he is. You know that he is strong and he is brave and he won’t ever stop trying to be a better person. And that’s the main lesson he’s taught me so far: how to be a good person. Because a good person isn’t this shiny, perfect, angelic figure. A good person is someone with faults, but someone with many more qualities. A good person is more than the sum of their parts. A good person is always open to learn and change and evolve. And that’s my dad.
My life would be infinitely worse without him.
What’s your dad like? I hope you have the same relationship with yours and I’m sorry if you don’t, for whatever reason. But this weekend go and celebrate your dad, or anyone else in your life you see as a father figure. Or just a cool guy that you want to thank. Let them know that you appreciate them. And tell them you love them. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. Especially then.
Happy Father’s Day!
A Horse With No Name – America