What Dads Really Want for Father's Day

Family, Self

Now here's an example of a surprisingly great gift. Last Valentine's day I gave the most unromantic gift EVER, and it was a HUGE hit. Why? Because it was thoughtful. I bought my wife a gift that solved a chronic problem in her life. Daily, she would look upon our beautiful back yard and lament that our family couldn't enjoy it more, given the mine field created by our manic golden retriever. So, yes, I gave her a high-tech pooper scooper, with the intention that the boys and I would use it on her behalf. We do have some honor. I really don't know what was funnier, giving my wife a pooper scooper for Valentine's Day, or the fact that she was so giddy over it. A great gift is one that the receiver really wants.

In gift giving, it really is the thought that counts. But the deeper question for buying a Father's Day gift is, "What are the thoughts that count?" The deeper gift is the one that considers what your father or husband needs from you or your children. Gifts can be tokens, metaphors of a bigger, less tangible gift. I once gave a loved one a tape that included a song of forgiveness. That tape came out of my old answering machine and used to house the evidence of how they had wronged me. I taped a song about forgiveness over the message and gave it as a gift. Maybe you could do something similar. If the fathers in your life haven’t lived up to your expectations, consider giving the gift of "letting go." Fathers are people like you and me who do dumb things at times and often regret it. Letting go on Father’s Day means acknowledging the pain of the past and the fact that the past can’t be undone, while choosing to love them for who they are now, limitations and all. That’s a gift money can’t buy.

As you look to celebrate fatherhood, consider the person, not the role. What is it that your father or husband needs from you and your children? Is it forgiveness, honor, respect, acknowledgment? Can you put on your own Father's Day parade? How about vowing not to do that thing you do that makes him so mad? Make your Father's Day gift a metaphor for what really matters to the dads in your life. It will take a little thought to give your dad what he really wants for Father's Day, but it could just change his life and maybe even yours for the better.

©2010 Jay Ostrowski. As a Nationally Certified Counselor, Jay Ostrowski creates behavioral health products and services for LifeOptions Group. He is the father of two boisterous boys and lives in the Grand Rapids area. Jay is also in practice online. You can also email him at jay@jay-ostrowski.com.