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What Dads Really Want For Fatherís Day
Dr. Greco asks several dadís for their thoughts on fatherhood and their special day.

Most fathers would be happy with just a little recognition on Father's Day, of course, some tickets to the ballpark wouldn't hurt.

So, all weíd really like is recognition for how much we try, for the times that we do get it right. And, you know, a pair of tickets to a ball game wouldnít hurt.”
Fathers. What would we do without them? Here we are, with Fatherís Day right around the corner, and there is no better time to take a look at what the fatherís in our lives mean to us. Dads have some very tough shoes to fill. Although one day a year is hardly enough to honor and recognize all that the fatherís in our lives do, Fatherís Day is a good place to start.

Looking at my own father, I see a man of strength and tenacity. Though he might not have gotten the fatherhood job description down perfectly, my father was a man of deep commitment. He believed in the ideal of family. He believed in working hard and giving his all. Fathersólike mothersódonít enter parenthood with a handbook that allows them to raise and nurture each individual child perfectly. Finding fault with our parents can be an easy trap to fall into, so I have found the wisdom in focusing on the good qualitiesóthose I can emulate, admire, and enjoy. So, although Dad wasnít perfect, I have to say that he was one very remarkable individual.

Writing an article about Fatherís Day seemed an interesting and somewhat challenging task. I wondered if I could do justice to all the great men who strive to be incredible fathers. After all, Iím a woman and, although I know more than a thing or two about motherhood, Iíll never know what itís like to be father. So, wanting some insights from on-the-job experts, I went directly to the source.

I asked fathersóthe hardworking men who know fatherhood from the inside outófor their personal insights. What do dads really want on Fatherís Day? What is most meaningful? What is the most important aspect of Fatherís Day? The responses I received were heartbreaking, illuminating, and filled with love. As you will see, from the real-life questions and comments below, this article began to write itself.

What do dads want on Fatherís Day?

One dad smiled and responded: Thatís easy. All we really want is recognition. You know, we really are good guys. We might not get it right all the time, but we try. We really try. We are born and raised to protect and look out for those who arenít as strong as we are. Itís an instinctual thing. When itís man to man, each guy is on his own. But when it comes to women and children, weíll take a bullet for them. I mean that. Without a thought, thatís what a man does. He protects. Heís strong. So, all weíd really like is recognition for how much we try, for the times that we do get it right. And, you know, a pair of tickets to a ball game wouldnít hurt.

Another dad offered: Thanks for recognizing that fathers are actually worthwhile. In my years as a father of two, I always felt like I took a back seat to the mothers. In some respects it made sense, yet at other times it made no sense, as I felt I made more of a contribution to my child than a mother might have made. Iíve been there for each and every milestone, for every teacherís conference, most every football game my son played in, and nearly every one of my daughterís cheerleading competitions. I plan on being part of every milestone of my childrenís lives!

One stalwart stepfather reflected on Jean Valjean, the quintessential father immortalized in Les Misťrables. To him, the story of an extraordinary father raising his little daughter, Cosette, is the epitome of fatherhood. This dad hopes for tickets to see the stage production of Les Misťrables this Fatherís Day. Now that, he said, would be a tribute to a father.

What is most meaningful about Fatherís Day?

One man who lost his father not too long ago remarked: My favorite Father's Day with my dad was going to see the Giants play in San Francisco. He would take us as kids on Father's day, as well as some other days if they were playing in San Francisco. He loved the Giantsóalthough he complained about them all the time. But I love that memory of him. I will never ever forget those wonderful, magical days with my dad.

Another man noted: I look at my kids and realize they are getting big too quickly. I realize how lucky I am to be their dad. Itís a huge responsibility and sometimes it seems overwhelmingóit is just too easy to get it wrong. Fatherís Day gives me an opportunity to sit back and not take it all so seriously. I relax and enjoy my kids even more. I take pride in the gifts they make for me each year. For me, the most meaningful part of Fatherís Day is that I get to cherish the fact that I am a dad. I look at my son and daughter and think, 'I am responsible for those precious kids. I get to watch them grow. I get to be part of this.' Itís humbling and inspiring.

What is your favorite way to spend Fatherís Day?

One dad told me: I look forward to every minute of Fatherís Day. From breakfast with my kids to whatever activity theyíve cooked up to surprise me, Iíve never been disappointed. My wife and kids make sure I feel like a king.

Another dad offered: A game of golf with family members in the morning and then a family BBQ in the afternoon! That's a perfect day!

Giving a new twist to Fatherís Day fun, an energy-filled dad confided: Fatherís Day is my chance to fulfill some of my childhood dreams. Now that my boys are a little older, we do all the things I wish I could have done with my dad. Last year we went sailing. The year before that we went kayaking. This year weíre doing a zip-line adventure. Itís awesome, I feel like a kid and a dad all at once. I wish Fatherís Day was every day!

Rounding out the input, a father of two youngsters relayed: I just like hanging out with my family. My wife asked me what I want for Fatherís Day, but nothing is more important to me than being with my kids. Itís really wonderful that they look up to me. Just being with them on Fatherís Day means everything to me.

The wonderful responses I received let me see a bit more about fatherhood. The most significant theme seemed to tell me thatómore than anythingófathers want a day where they feel honored and recognized for their hard, dedicated work as dads! Fathers simply want to be loved, honored, and given credit for sticking it out through thick and thin.

So, this Fatherís Day is your opportunity to take a good look at the father figures in your life. Give each one of them special thanks. Make a visit, send a card, pick up the phone, or go on an adventure together. Most important, reach out and let those father figures know how much you appreciate them. Give these men the recognition they deserve.

As a clinical psychologist in Sonoma County, California, Dr. Carla Marie Greco maintains a focus on helping clients transform their lives and their relationships. Using a body-mind-spirit approach that underscores the importance of overall wellness, Dr. Greco works with her clients on a highly individualized basis to uncover the core concerns that often manifest as psychological, behavioral, and somatic symptoms. Combining traditional depth psychotherapy with somatic therapy, Dr. Greco offers her clients a specialized approach to creating passionate, joy-filled lives. Working in both individual and group settings, she strives to promote change by increasing her clientsí personal self-awareness and insight. †A devoted writer, speaker, and yoga instructor, Dr. Greco is dedicated to helping others create the lives of their dreams.†California License: Psy25539. For more, visit www.drcarlagreco.com.

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