Tomorrow is Father’s Day. All across America, fathers will be receiving cologne, ties, and power tools, and everyone else will be thinking about the sage advice and guidance that they received from their own dear Dads.
My Dad wasn’t much for giving pointed advice about your life, however. In fact, you could say he had a decidedly laissez-faire attitude about how and what people were doing. Whenever he heard about somebody doing something that suggested that they were really going off the rails, Dad typically would shrug and mutter something about people needing to “do their own thing” and “find their niche.” These phrases, in fact, were heard so often that they became part of the Webner family lexicon. I think Dad realized that he didn’t have all the answers, and he wasn’t going to impose his views on somebody else — who probably wouldn’t have appreciated his attempt to steer the course of their life, anyway.
And you know what? Nine times out of ten, the person who was struggling figured things out for themselves, through a little trial and error, and in the meantime the family happily missed out on the drama and slamming doors and yelling and hard feelings that sometimes can be the result of a little aggressive parenting.
As I sit here, I realize that I also haven’t really offered much in the way of Father Knows Best-type wisdom, either. Sure, I instructed the boys not to stick their fingers into electrical sockets and told them that littering was wrong, but beyond those basics the only thing hard and fast rule I remember imposing was that if you wanted to play on a sports team, you had to stick it out and play to the end of the season, to be fair to your teammates and your coaches. I suppose you could draw some deep life lessons from that, if you tried real hard, but of course the rule wasn’t meant to convey deep life lessons — just to establish an understanding of the consequences of decisions about childhood things like Little League and the Nazarene basketball league.
So where do you go if you really want to get some fatherly advice? That’s simple: Homer Simpson. Here’s an example: “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”
Hey, maybe getting fatherly advice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all.