The other day I was strolling through a local convenience store and wondered, “why is it that greeting cards for Father’s Day follow a you-were-a-great-dad pattern?” What about the dads who were not so great? What about the abusive ones? The absent ones? The ones who played the role of a dad, but were not actually your dad? Now, I’m not saying this is only true in the dad world; the focus is only in that direction for this post because it’s Father’s Day and so that’s the highlighted card in the stores right now. But it did get me thinking.
Yes, some dads are great. There are dads who have played active roles in their children’s lives. They were protectors and providers. They taught their sons how to purely love their wives. They taught daughters what type of a man would make a good husband. Many women have been blessed with having a parenting partner who is ideal. But then there are the others. What happens to them on Father’s Day?
Are there cards that read: “Happy, Ya You Aight, Father’s Day,” “you were a deadbeat, but I still appreciate your role in bringing me into this world,” “you weren’t there for me, but I still want to wish you a Happy Father’s Day because I don’t have any ill feelings towards you”? Do any of those cards exist? Maybe they should. It’s okay to acknowledge someone, even if they did not live up to certain expectations. Ok, so maybe the cards wouldn’t have to take such a blatantly negative spin, but do they have to make all dads sound perfect? (same holds true for moms’ cards too) What about having a card that states your love for the parent and your appreciation for their efforts, without praising them for parenting skills they did not display? I think this is a logical request. We can have cards that thank someone for what they did do, without making them out to (falsely) sound perfect. After all, who is perfect?!?
For me, Father’s Day brings with it my desire to buy 4 men Father’s Day cards and here is why. I have a biological father, a stepfather, a (what I refer to as) spiritual father, and the father of my son. Now, each of these men are very different from one another and so no card would work for all of them due to the facts surrounding their influence on my life. So when I went to purchase my cards, it was quiet an ordeal. I had to search for a card that acknowledged the day for my biological father. Being too gushy would not work. It had to be simple while stating thanks for being my dad and here’s that appreciation on a card. Then for my stepfather I had to find a funny card that didn’t specify “dad” or “being there all my life.” Neither of those statements ring true, but thankfully there is a decent selection of “stepdad” cards and several that fit some of his interests (TV and golfing). Next, I searched for a card that possessed more of a religious tone for my spiritual father. He’s my Prayer Warrior. The guy who had my back when life got hard. The man who could speak wisdom and truth into me, without me flipping out with my hot temper during those teenage years. The one who showed me the love of Christ, before I knew Him myself. Now, for this card, it was somewhat easier. I could select one that had love gushing and admirable words about the type of man this father is. However, he is not my “dad” and he did not “raise” me throughout my “childhood.” So words like those would dismiss many cards. Eventually, I found his card and was moving on to the final card selection for the father of my son. This card was the easiest! Since my son is not even a year old, there were several options to choose from that were “from son.” This man has also been an amazing provider, protector and genuine model of love – so all those gushy words would fit. The main thing that ruled some out was that it had to be from a very young child, so no “for all these years” type of wording because that did not apply. Within five minutes, I found the final card and was paying the cashier.
Yet as I walked out of the doors with my four Father’s Day cards, I was still left wondering, what about the dads who do not fit the beautiful wording on those cards? Is it expected that you buy a card that raves about traits that were not exhibited, or do you just skip the buying-a-card part of the holiday? I’m all about being real and honest. So I think it is perfectly fine to say, “you did an okay job over these years, Happy Father’s Day,” or “I appreciate you trying the best you could.” It acknowledges the parent and thanks them for what they have done in our lives, without making it sound like everyone was perfect. Sometimes we are blessed with the parent who is – and others times – it’s just a different kind of greeting card.
What are your thoughts? How many people even still buy cards? Do you try to find one that genuinely fits the person? Or does any nice sounding card work? Comment below.
Ahmeli… that we can keep things real – even our greeting cards.
If you like this post, please follow Ahmeli by submitting your e-mail (to the left), sharing on social media, or adding a comment below as we strengthen our tomorrows. Thank you!