Give the Gift of Fatherhood this Father’s Day

Doug Ernst


I’m on a men’s team of 11, including eight who are fathers of 16 children.

With Father’s Day coming up, we talked at a recent team meeting about the fear of the unknown when we first realized we were going to become fathers.

Several of the fathers tried to convince a man new to the team that it’s normal to want everything else in life to be in order before having kids: The right woman, the right financial situation, the right time.

But they also said it’s normal if everything is out of order.

Some men revealed their fear of becoming a father went away the minute they found out they were going to be one.

Some joked that children are all burden and no joy, whatsoever.

More than one man said their children – and grandchildren – represent the most important relationships of their lives.

A couple of men said they did not seek out a woman who wanted to have children, but added that, when fatherhood happened, they became determined to become the best possible fathers.

One man said that when he found the right woman, she happened to already have a child, so he fell in love with the little one, too. Another man with two children fell in love with a woman with two children and now they are a family of six.

One man said he takes pride in showing his daughters that men can change.

Although the idea of “getting” something on Father’s Day seems ingrained in today’s world, I heard men talk about how many rewards they are already “getting” from their children. So I am thinking about changing the way I will celebrate Father’s Day.

I think I’ll start by giving gifts to my four grown children, all women, three of whom have eight children of their own.

I’ll also give a present to my wife, who gave me my four kids and did most of the heavy lifting raising them.

Maybe, by giving rather than “getting,” I can teach my family that this man’s greatest gifts are his children and grandchildren.

Maybe I am “getting” a true picture of how I can be a better father.

Happy Father’s Day, dads.

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