This is for my wife:
Don’t buy me a gift for Father’s Day.
I know you’ve got a million things on your mind. I know there are a hundred unfinished errands to do.
The kids have to get to school on time. There are mountains of laundry we need to do. Homework we need to supervise. Groceries we need to buy. Meals we need to cook. The list doesn’t seem to end.
So don’t worry about buying or baking or making me anything.
But please do this one thing.
Sometime in the next few days, when you have a moment alone with the kids, find a quiet place to talk. Make sure there are no distractions. Then ask them if they know what Father’s Day is. Ask if they’ve ever thought about why we celebrate the holiday. Talk with them about the reasons we show appreciation for dads.
It’s important for kids to learn how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It helps them make and keep friends and relate to others—at school and eventually at work and in life. That’s why you and I should grab onto to every chance we have to nudge our children to think about others.
After you talk to them, maybe they’ll feel like doing something for Dad. Maybe it’ll be an easy homemade present. Or maybe they’ll clean their rooms!
But, you know, I’ll actually be fine with just a big hug and kiss and an “I love you.” As long as whatever they do comes from the heart. As long as it helps them develop empathy and perspective. What I want is about them, not me.
On Father’s Day, it’s really the thought that counts.
Or if that doesn’t work out…you could just buy me a trip to Hawaii. Your choice!
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About the author
Andrew M.I. Lee, JD is an editor and attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education, and parenting issues.