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To Fathers, On Father's Day

Posted by Lara Salahi  June 16, 2013 07:42 AM

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Dear fathers,

We know you probably hate Hallmark holidays.

Fear not.

We don’t plan to shove a lifetime of praise for your role into one day. Nor do we plan to load your man cave with tchotchkes to remind you of what a great father you may be.
Your gift today is to know how only one word can sum up how important you are to your family.

A genius once said that children spell love, T-I-M-E.

So that’s your one word: Time.

There are not enough hours in Father’s Day to complete your assignment of fatherhood. There is no amount of “#1 Dad” mugs in the world to sufficiently repay you for having spent time from baby’s day one to as long as you live.

It's your time that matters, in every way.

Even when baby's still in the womb, that the job of carrying baby to term doesn't just rest with mama. You matter. How secure you make your partner feel during this time will determine her emotional and physical state throughout her pregnancy. And as you well know, mama well equals baby well. You, daddy, are the glue. Those after dinner walks you take will help ease the pain and swelling. Your happiness, your attitude, your presence is one of the most important factors of a sound pregnancy, birth, and recovery.

From the minute a baby is thrust into your life, the time you spend will make baby happier, healthier, and more successful in a way that no other relationship that baby has with anyone else -- including baby's own mother -- will.

Your involvement means your child is more likely to have a higher IQ, and more likely to love school and be good at it. We don’t even have to point you to amount of research that shows how often and the ways you play with your child provides unique benefits. You’re the one that's more likely to help them embrace risks, reach higher for their goals, eat healthier, and teach them emotional and physical self-control.

Here's what else we know: You are a mirror for your child.

By age 3, if you have encouraged them to try again after falling, they'll feel confident enough to stand back up. By age 4, the undivided attention you give them will help them make friends and stay focused in class. By age 6, if you feel confident they can do without training wheels on their bike, they’ll feel confident to ride on. By age 8, if you consistently spend time helping them with homework, they’ll value education enough to come home with A’s. By age 13, your time spent listening means they'll come to you first to seek advice and emotional support. By age 20, if you have respected their mother, they will know how to feel respected and to respect their partner. By age 30 and beyond, they'll remember the good times and will want to pay it forward to their own kids.

Your time means your child is protected. Because of you, they are less likely to fall victim to bullying, less likely to fall into peer pressure. Your involvement means you will have raised a child who values his or herself above all else.

So thank you fathers, especially to those who know that one word can make a lifetime of difference. And that one word is not tchotchke.

Love… or T-I-M-E,

Your family

Two wonderful fathers: My father (left), and my daughter's father.
Thank you for taking the time.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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