Sure we’d say, “I love you,” and some things were just understood, but we didn’t necessarily communicate on a certain level – that level where you just sit around clearly communicating and talking about feelings. Our actions spoke louder than words, so it was clearly shown how everyone felt, and I felt loved, but I wish I could verbalize some things – to further convey that love. Below are seven things I’d want my dad to know before it was too late:
I’m not perfect, but I want to be here for you, fully, in my imperfection
Expectation: I think, so many times, that children try too hard to please their parents – to be “perfect” if you will, and then they end up completely blowing it, because – guess what – that’s not reality nor a reasonable expectation of yourself.
Realization: Your parents don’t expect you to be perfect. They want you to be you. Simply be there, being you. Don’t add any unnecessary pressure to be your “vision” of perfection.
Don’t take the present for granted
Don’t EVER take your time with someone for granted. It’s precious and goes by faster than you can imagine. If you are blessed to have longevity with your parents, regardless of your relationship, treasure it and mold it into something special. I will always remember the day we spent four hours assembling a trampoline together. Yes, I know it’s sounds like a Hallmark card, but maybe Hallmark has realized something before the rest of us.
Work to fix what is broken
If your past has left much to be desired, that’s fine. Do your best to make amends, and set reasonable goals and expectations. You only get one dad, so make the best of it, and savor the time you have with your parents.
I realize parents are people too, and they will unintentionally make mistakes
So you grow up thinking your dad is Superman. That’s super cool, but a totally unrealistic expectation. One day, he will disappoint you, and it may not be that day, but either then, or sometime in the future, you will figure out that your dad is a person too. He’s trying to figure things out just like you are. Cut him some slack. Appreciate and respect him. Remember that time when you helped him pick that fabric steamer because his clothes were always poorly ironed? Those are wonderful moments we should all cherish.
If you’re living at home maintain a connection. Have a family dinner. Enjoy a good cup of coffee at home together. Catch up on each other’s day. If you’re living outside of your family home, make sure to call him once a week, just to check in. Work your dad into your schedule, because where you spend your time, shows where your priorities lie.
Tell him he’s your hero
Even though he may not be Superman, he’s still likely your hero, and likes to hear this. Tell him. In addition to being your father, he may be your mentor, caretaker, cheerleader, etc. Recognize that he takes on many roles. Again, tell him. He’s a person. Who doesn’t like positive reinforcement? People do, so that means he does too. He may not be Superman, but he is Super Dad.
Tell him that he did an amazing job raising you
Thank him for doing such an amazing job raising you. You can do this by bragging on him on Facebook. You can write it in a Father’s Day card. You can sing it in a song or simply have a conversation. Whatever your style is, just tell him. You won’t regret it, but you may regret not doing it.
Janet Miller is a serial entrepreneur and reformed workaholic. She was previously a senior project manager at a Fortune 100 company. She writes extensively and has been featured on Fast Company, The Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha.