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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day

Human relationships can be puzzling. Why do we love or hate each other? Is it right to expect others to help you? What is one’s obligation to family members? To friends? To strangers that need assistance?

It may be best not to think too much about these questions. Maybe it is best to embrace the “Golden Rule” as an organizing principal and just take action. “Analysis leads to paralysis” as the saying goes. Or put another way, don’t ask “What is the meaning of life?” Ask “How should I live?”

Let’s consider fatherhood. I am a father – I have four children. They are all interesting individuals. I have intense emotions when I think about my children. I use the word “love” to describe those emotions, but that word has been over-used and trivialized. I can’t really come up with an alternative word or phrase that fits, however.

Let me describe a fatherhood experience.

On Father’s Day weekend each year, there is an art fair in my neighborhood. It is called “Custer’s Last Stand” because it is centered on the intersection of Custer and Main Street in Evanston IL. My youngest daughter (now age 15) loves Custer’s Last Stand. Last year, all of her friends were out of town during the weekend that the fair was scheduled. To her chagrin, I was the only available companion. So we walked to the event and perused the art stalls, the food stands and the music stages. After an hour or so of walking about, we bought ice cream cones and sat on a curb in the shade at the very south end of the fair area. As we ate our cones, about 8 people we knew wandered by and greeted us. Some were my friends, so I introduced them to my daughter. Some were my daughter’s friends, so she introduced them to me. It was a quietly marvelous time.

This might have been my best Father's Day, and no one bought me a tie.

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