“Are you there? Say a prayer for the Pretender who started out so young and strong only to surrender” Jackson Browne
Fathers: Mothers Day is my favorite day of the year, so it should be so for you on Father’s Day. It’s our respective Hallmark days that tell us we’re alive and that we’ve participated, and that we have very big jobs to do. Real jobs to do. The hardest jobs we’ll ever do, mother or father (and for those dear friends/men who don’t have biological kids of your own, you know you’re still fathers, so this is for you, too!) So, I encourage you to make Father’s Day your favorite day of the year, too.
Today is a day of permission to be a better father by doing whatever the hell you want. With or without your kids. The other 364 days they need you. Today, they and the world needs you to refill, recharge and happy-up for “tomorrow.” So what do you really, really, really want? Have you talked to him lately–the depths of your soul? Have you dusted off the heart strings in the recent past to check in on what you choose to do each day that doesn’t serve you (and hence, doesn’t serve your kids)? Whatever that may be, DON’T do that today.
Best selling author, Liz Gilbert recently charged me with this; “What are you willing to give up to have the life you are PRETENDING to want?” Pretending is NOT a typo. Are you pretending to want a life of adventure? Go get it. Or are you pretending to have a great relationship with your kids? Are you pretending you’re happy with your 9-5 day job working for ‘the man?’ Or are you pretending you want a better golf handicap, to be 20 pounds thinner and to run that marathon you’ve always talked about? Today, (and tomorrow, and the next) quit pretending, and quit the things that keep you from the life you want. Today, give yourself permission to not pretend.
A father’s responsibilities are overwhelming. You’ve been gender-screwed to provide food, shelter and life’s necessities for you and your family. Yes, for my female readers, we, too, can and do provide, but truthfully, women are centuries away from ever feeling the genetic pressure to the degree that men do. For those of you who disagree, fine. Write your own damn blog and on a different day wave your flag of gender equality (PS: I fought for my equality, and won, fight for yours on a different day)—TODAY is a day to pump up the male species by saying we’re sorry. We’re sorry that you’ve been slapped with the ugly stick of daunting DNA that says PROVIDE.
Yes, its true, I never leave home with out food in the center console of my car or in my briefcase or purse for that impending apocalypse where zombies overtake the world and I save the day because I can feed my daughter the world’s last Kind Bar. But a Father’s pressure to provide is all together different. For you single or widowed mothers out there who are pulling down both jobs of mother and father, this is for you too—you get to celebrate today too. Providing can suck you of your mojo, your zeal and passion for life. So don’t provide today. Step outside of all that robs you of your joy and find that brave soul that says “I want more.” Choose to be strong, passionate and OK, well, dangerous. Isn’t that the heart of a man?
I have been exposed to men and all the financial responsibility that comes with fatherhood in my practice for 20+ years. So, Malcom Gladwell proclaims I’ve got my 10,000 hours (I actually have a little more than double!) and while I’m no expert on fatherhood, I have witnessed the fallout of fathers I counsel due to the financial stress of “providing.” So while I am a woman and yet, not a father, I feel permission today to try and get in your heads and hearts from a place of knowing (kinda). I also feel a great sense of gratitude to be in a position to speak to this and to you—and beg of you to tell me where I’ve gotten this wrong (responders will be rewarded greatly! Want a copy of Perfect Day?)
No matter what your religious beliefs, if this post is resonating at all, and your desire is for either more in your life or to just feel validated for all that you are, read John Eldrege’s “Wild at Heart.” Eldrege writes,”For after years of living in a cage, a lion no longer believes he is lion…and a man believes he is no longer a man.” Whoa. Get out your box/cage-some advice we could all heed, right?
It was 150 years ago that Thoreau wrote, “The mass often lead lives of quiet desperation,” and it seems nothing has changed. As the line from Braveheart has it, “All men die; few men ever really live.” Wild At Heart, Eldredge
So Dads, today celebrate you, celebrate this thing called life (a bit Prince-esque, yes). Get out there and know that adventure calls. Don’t strive to be the best dad today or tomorrow, simply strive to be the best YOU—Today, screw your inboxes, the messy garage, your waistline and the size of your 401k. Today, be brave and go after what you want.
Wishing you many favorite (#Perfect, ahem) Father’s days’ ahead!