Fathers' Day

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On Fathers' Day children thank their dads for all they've done over the years. It's a nice tradition, but these tributes seem to assume that the learning and getting were a one-way exchange. As the father of three adult sons, I'd like to thank them for everything I got out of it.

To be honest, it wasn't always great or even pleasant, but I have absolutely loved being a father, and quite obviously and by definition, I couldn't have done it without them. There are so many lessons I've learned along the way. I've come to appreciate that you can't really understand what it means to be a child until you've been a parent. In addition to everything in life that we forget, there are the things that we can't possibly remember, such as what it was like to be an infant or a toddler.  But when you become a parent you have a chance to be a kid again and I took full advantage of that.

As children grow you see the emergence of traits more significant, and often more problematic, than hair or eye color.  I am the father of fraternal twins and a big believer in nature over nurture. But along the way I learned that just as my sons are who they are mostly because that is the way they are made, the same can be said of me. So, I have come to appreciate that genetics is not just the way that traits are handed down from generation to generation, but it is also a ladder of understanding and forgiveness.

Being a dad taught me how fleeting life is. What could seem interminable when it was happening, for example flying cross-country with three boys under the age of five, has in retrospect come and gone in a flash. My boys are now men. Hopefully more pleasures await me: I want to dance at their weddings; I want to hold their babies in my arms. I look forward to these blessings but they in turn will go from experience to memory in an instant. But in the end one thing will remain true: I was their father and I was always thankful for that.

Happy Fathers Day guys.


With a Perspective, this is Paul Staley.