FATHERS PLAY AN important role in the lives of all family members. While they are often discussed in terms of their occupations—accountant, mechanic, and the like—they also have a vital place in the lives of their children. I conducted several interviews with adult children about family relationships, and asked them to recall favorite memories of their fathers. One of the participants remembered an occasion when it was her turn to tidy the kitchen following a family dinner. Her father volunteered to help her:
“THIS WAS A busy time during my senior year of high school, and my calendar was filled with school assignments, home responsibilities, extracurricular activities, and volunteer commitments. I began to feel pressured, anxious, and overwhelmed. Just when I felt I was having a melt-down, my father offered to wash the dinner dishes for me. Enormously grateful, I quickly cleared the table and stacked the dishes in the sink before he could change his mind. During the manual wash, rinse, and dry cycles, my father and I brainstormed about topics for my upcoming research papers and talked about my community volunteer experience at a local homeless shelter. In record time, we finished the dishes and tidied the kitchen. My dad was a lifesaver that evening, and because of his help, I felt loved, encouraged, and recharged.”
THE PARTICIPANT’S STORY underscores the winning team she and her father made and the successful performance they delivered, which informs her collaborative leadership style in her current career.
ANOTHER INTERVIEWEE SPOKE of his father’s attendance at his middle-school sporting events:
“ALTHOUGH MY FATHER was not a sports enthusiast, he was proud of my athletic ability and supported me and my team by coming to all our basketball games. During my middle-school years, my father was a chemistry professor at a local university. On the evenings of my games, I’d watch him scurry into the gym just before tip-off and search the stands for my mom and my two younger siblings. I could spot him from a mile away. His wire-rimmed glasses rested on top of his curly, close-cropped hair, and his rolled-up shirt sleeves stopped short of his elbows, exposing his worn, leather watchband. During half-time, I’d notice him grading papers or reviewing his lecture notes. Engaging in this academic activity didn’t distract him from watching the game, however. On the drive home, my father verified his attentiveness by informing me of the total number of points I scored during the game and the number of rebounds and assists I made that night. To this day, I genuinely treasure my father’s resolute support.”
THIS PARTICIPANT OBVIOUSLY feels a significant bond with his father. He plans to develop similar loving relationships with his own children when he becomes a parent.
THESE TWO NARRATIVES describe what is generally held to be true: a father’s love is special and essential. Contemporary research on fathering supports this belief and reveals the following findings:
• Fathers tend to make an important and lasting contribution to their children’s lives.
• A quality father-child relationship is significant to a child’s development and well-being
. • It is not just the father’s presence but the quality of his connection to the child that is important.
EVEN THOUGH MY own Father is no longer here, he would want me to salute other Fathers for demonstrating “positive paternal regard” and celebrate their commitment to make a difference that matters in their children’s lives. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Brenda Joy 
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Thank you Brenda for sharing your insights on the importance of an active father!
Loved your piece!

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