Have you said, “Thanks, Dad!” for all he did for you? Some of us never knew our fathers. Some of us hated our fathers growing up (and maybe still do). Some of us think he was a good provider, but little else. Finally, some of you have amazing fathers who sacrificed their hopes and dreams to give you a better life.
Wherever you are on this spectrum, if your father is still alive, consider thanking him for what he has done right. There is always something to thank him for if you look hard enough. Your dad will not be around forever. In the solitary moments, when your dad wonders if he did all he should have with his life, a reassurance by you will mean the world to him. So here are 10 ways to say, “Thanks, Dad!”
1. Live with integrity.
For many men, satisfaction is measured in terms of their children’s lives. You are, in many respects, perceived as an extension of your father. You can be his best thank you.
2. Write a letter.
Phone calls and texts are nice, emails are fairly easy, handshakes and hugs bring warmth to the heart. But to write your dad a letter and tell him how much you appreciate his leadership in your life? There’s nothing quite like it.
3. Plan deliberate and regular one-on-one time.
Remember the Harry Chapin ballad Cats in the Cradle? The song went on to say, “When you coming, home son? I don’t know when…” The son learned emotional neglect from his father. Don’t be that guy.
4. Be interested in his life.
Ask your dad about his job, find out what he’s up to around the house, peruse a couple of the magazines he reads. Make an investment in what your dad values. It’s a great way to show respect.
5. Learn his stories.
Your dad may not be Mr. Rogers, but he’s probably sitting on some great stories from his neighborhood and beyond. If you show you care about his life, then he’ll know you’re grateful he’s around.
6. Share your stories with him: Interest works both ways.
“Remember when you taught me how to play baseball… how to set off fireworks… how to mow the lawn…?” You can tell him how much he means to you by continuing to share your stories with him. You can thank him by reminding him how much his investment in you has contributed to your life.
Sometimes, it’s not even about the stories. Sometimes it’s just taking the time to listen to your dad. Ask what’s on his mind, what he’s thinking. He’ll know you’re grateful for the times he listened to you.
8. Pay him back for his sacrifices.
Figure out something your dad sacrificed for you when you were a kid and then do what it takes to make it happen for him today. Did he pass up on golf to watch you play ball? Take him out for a round. Did he skip out on steak dinners so he could grill you some great burgers? Hook him up with a ribeye, ASAP. Has he always dreamed of a cruise? Maybe by now, you’re in a position to treat him to one. Use your imagination.
9. Love his grandchildren.
“Dad, you did so much for me when I was growing up. Now watch me pass on that level of love and commitment to your grandkids. It’s the least I can do.”
10. Record a video of him for future generations.
Your father has more asphalt behind him than in front of him, so be sure to let his great-grandchildren know how special he is. Interview him now and show it to your grandkids when you’re his age.
Sound off: What are you most thankful for about your father?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and tell them a story about your father.