Saturday, June 18, 2016

Don’t Take Dad For Granted

by Dan Applegate
President, The Arlington Memorial Gardens

Today we observe Father’s Day, a day designated specifically to honor fathers everywhere and to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the positive role that fathers play in society.  That alone makes it a feel-good, Hallmark kind of a day.  But while it certainly has meaning, it’s not on par or celebrated with the same emotional intensity as Mother’s Day.

That might sound exaggerated and provocative, but in general terms, it’s undeniably true.  Obviously, most of us recognize that fathers, being one-half of the traditional “parent package,”  occupy a special place in our lives.  While we love them dearly, their influence and role in our lives is often overshadowed by the unique relationship we have with our mothers.

The maternal bond between mother and offspring is a remarkable testament to the sheer intensity of that relationship.  Simply put, mothers provide us with the primal nurturing we all need and require to become emotionally sensitive.  I love my own mother because of her great goodness, kindness and integrity; but, also because she was always there to provide unconditional love and support.  On the other hand, the significance of fatherhood has been generally recognized as more about providing for the family and less about nuturing.

This has led to fathers being sterotyped as vague Archie Bunker-like authority figures who are present in the home but frequently detached from, and uninvolved with, the rest of the family, spending their time at home in their recliner napping or watching sports on TV.  However, that caricature is wildly unfair and inaccurate.

While it may be true that dads tend to be more self-contained, separate and less nurturing than moms, it’s also generally true that they are more thick-skined than moms.  This tougher attitude teaches the children to become more resilient and durable, more amenable to change  and enabled to better navigate the difficulties that they will certainly confront throughout their life.  My father, a child of the Great Depression and a veteran of World War II had an exacting signature style of holding his children accountable.  It was a style that I resented until I became mature enough to appreciate and honor the high quality of his character and the fact that my ability to stand on my own two feet and roll with the punches was his great gift to me.
We often take our fathers for granted.  Beware of the bad rap we sometimes give them.  And on this Father’s Day, let’s reflect on and celebrate the great qualities of our fathers and be thankful we’ve had the benefit of their love, unique style and influence.

Daniel Applegate became part of The Arlington Memorial Gardens organization in 2001 and has worked in the cemetery industry since 1981, including serving as Secretary/Treasurer and then as President of the Ohio state cemetery association.  He was appointed by Ohio Governor George Voinovich and served two terms on the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission, Ohio's cemetery oversight agency. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.

No comments:

Post a Comment