Father's come in all shapes and sizes... short, tall, slim, heavy. They are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist... all religions, and no religion.They are Black, Brown, White... all of the colors in the human spectrum. There are good fathers, and bad fathers. I wish to salute the good fathers.
They dedicate their lives to working hard to provide for their families. Fathers, like mine, who work their whole lives to make life good for their families. They do all that they can to give their children what they need. Working long hours, many times into the night, many weekends lost to work. They spend almost every waking hour thinking of how they can improve the lives of their children, working unrelentingly as the best years of their lives speed by. They work without complaint, without asking for recognition of what they do, because this is simply what they know that they must do.
It does not matter if these fathers were born here, or born somewhere else; their lives are the same. It does not matter if they speak the language with an accent, or if they speak it impeccably; the message that they teach their children comes through loud and clear.
They teach their children compassion and love. They teach their children that a mother and father are equals.... supporting each other and relying on each other. They show their children that they love and respect their life partners, regardless of who they are. They teach respect for all those whom they come in contact with. They provide a moral compass for their children. Good fathers teach their children not to hate. Good fathers teach their children to accept all people, regardless of race, religion, or national origin. Good fathers teach by example.
Father's do not have to be biological. Step-fathers have no less responsibility than a biological father. They still have the same responsibilities that all father's have. Children have needs that must be provided for. There are school activities that fathers and mothers must attend in order to support their children. Concerts, recitals, sports activities.. all these things a good father or step-father attend with pleasure and pride.
Good fathers teach their children that there is nothing shameful about showing emotion. We are, after all, passionate beings who have a whole spectrum of emotions. They teach their children that forgiveness is a virtue and vengeance is something that should be avoided. A good father shows their children the warmth of a loving home.
Finally, a word about those unsung heroes, mothers who take on the roles of both mother and father. These women are described as 'Single Mothers'. It doesn't matter the reasons that they find themselves in this role. What matters is that they have stepped up to do all the things that both mothers and fathers are expected to do. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to know a few of these special women. They stepped up and did what had to be done, and their children grew up to be strong and compassionate adults. So, on this father's day, I salute them as well for a job well done.
So, Happy Father's Day to all of the Fathers, Step-Fathers, and Single Moms out there on this Father's day! I hope that each and every one of you enjoys your special day, and that your children make the day special for you.
June 19, 2016
John Zaffino, Kent Lakes, NY