By Tim Hayes

“Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.” ~Reed Markham

Doesn’t it strike you as strange how some men have such an odd relationship with their fathers?  Like when a father never gives his wholehearted endorsement of the son, never says he’s proud of him, or never tells him that he loves him?

Some say that type of emotional chasm pushes certain men to extraordinary achievement, even all the way to the White House.  The list of presidents is overpopulated with men whose fathers were either emotionally or physically distant.  Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton, and Obama all would fall under that rubric.

“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.” ~Frank A. Clark

How can that be?  How could a father withhold anything from his children, sons or daughters?  The idea is so completely alien to me, because my experience – both as a son and as a father – has been just the opposite.

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.” ~Jim Valvano

My Dad has always been – and still is – one of the kindest, funniest, dependable guys in the world.  He’s a wiz at fixing and building things.  He remodeled our entire living room working on it evenings and weekends when I was a kid, while he worked full-time at a bank, for goodness sake.  His ability to tell a funny story remains the platinum standard in our family, one to which I continue to aspire.  He loves his kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids like crazy, and the feeling is more than mutual.  We know he has our back always, and in all ways.

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~Rev. Theodore Hesburgh

He has set the fatherhood bar pretty high, and I’ve tried for the past 21 years to measure up as a father to my three kids.  Have I succeeded?  Well, you’ll have to ask them, I suppose.

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” ~Clarence Budington Kelland

So, on this Father’s Day, I’d just like to tell my Dad – and all dads – that the fraternity we all belong to is the most honorable one there can ever be.  It’s fairly easy to become a father, but it’s tough, tricky, rewarding, exasperating, exhausting, scary, frustrating, beautiful, joyous, and amazing to truly be a Dad. 

If getting to the White House means not having a great relationship with your father, then you can keep it.  My little red brick house will do just fine, thank you. 

Happy Father’s Day. 

Copyright 2012 Tim Hayes Consulting