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Here’s to One Helluva Dad

09 Jun

Here’s to all the fathers out there, juggling love and work, to do their best for their kids.  Chances are, they’re more actively involved with their children’s lives than their own fathers were with theirs.  Happy Father’s Day to all of them!

I was lucky enough to have a husband who changed diapers, walked and crooned his kids to sleep, and took them off my hands and out of the house when I had a big project or a dinner party to produce.  (This, mind you, was in spite of the fact that he was born in 1938).

He was actively involved in their moral and academic education, engaged actively in parent meetings, pushed them when they were falling short, and showed them empathy and compassion when they needed it.
 
On what was supposed to be a fun, father-son road trip, he wound up rushing his eighth grader to a hospital in time to avert a terrible health disaster; and he saved our 6 year old from drowning when the kid fell off a pier, some distance away, unnoticed by everyone else, including me.

He set a great, if sometimes intimidating, example of parenting for our kids.
 
He also modeled a natural respect and appreciation for his spouse.  Would you believe he never left the table without thanking me for dinner?
 
When I look back on that now, I marvel at how remarkable that was – almost 40 years of dinner thank yous.  It came so easily to him, it seemed like no big deal at the time.  But it was a big deal.  And this was another aspect of being a good father - showing my kids that spousal appreciation was part of family life.

He managed all this in spite of the fact that he was a hard-driving, successful professional – the dean of a graduate school and a social policy maker with national impact – not to mention a nonstop community volunteer.
 
My kids got a great template to follow and I’m delighted by the parents they’ve become.  My thanks go to Art Naparstek for that.  I’m sorry he didn’t get to experience his kids with their own kids.

So, Happy Fathers Day, everyone!  Don’t stop paying attention; your parenting could be your most consequential, impactful legacy.
 
All best,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award