It was one of the most interesting conversations I had ever heard.
I was hunkered down in the corner of Starbucks working away on my laptop when a couple of big tough lookin’ construction guys walked in. They ordered coffee, sat down on the leather couches right next to my table, and one even took off his muddy boots and left them by the door so he wouldn’t drop dried mud chunks all over Starbucks. How thoughtful!
“I hate Father’s Day,” the bootless guy said.
“Dude, that’s weird. Why?”
“It’s just hype. It’s like Christmas and Valentine’s Day and Easter and every other over-marketed holiday. People go all out for one day then forget about the meaning of the celebration every other 364 days.”
“Dude, you’ve put a lot of thought into this.”
“I have to psyche myself for next Sunday, that’s why. I get to hear how awesome of a guy I am for one whole entire day, but then the very next day it’ll be back to being bagged on for everything I DON’T do. It’s bogus. I hate it.”
“Well forget coffee, let’s grab a beer!”
I had no idea men could feel this way and it made me think of my sweet little boys.
I spend so much time hugging them and kissing them and encouraging them because I want them to feel my love. I want them to know my encouragement. I want them to understand my appreciation. I want them to grow up and be confident men who know and understand support.
How are little boys any different than big ones?
I thought of my dad, Del.
Do I thank him enough? Do I encourage him? Do I appreciate the sacrifices he made to give my sisters and I a wonderful upbringing? More importantly, do I appreciate the things he continues to do for me now as an adult, or do I only focus on what he doesn’t do?
I thought of my partner in crime, Chris.
Do my boys hear positive words coming out of my mouth when I speak about Chris when he’s not around? Do my boys see me hug him, and kiss him, and pray for him, and support him? Do they know I appreciate their dad and love him 364 days of the year, not just on one day at a family gathering via a card? Does Chris know I appreciate him for the man he is and that I will continue to be his teammate even when the boys have grown and gone?
And what about the other ‘dudes’ in my life: My amazing father-in-law, my step-dad, my Grandpa’s, my brother-in-law’s, my nephew’s, Uncle’s, Pastor’s, and guy friends. When I am around these men, do I take a few moments to tell them what a great job they’re doing? Do I pat them on the back and acknowledge how hard they work to provide for their families and how hard they try to live with integrity and character in such a tough society?
I bet it’s hard to be a man. I’m betting they could ALL use a little more encouragement.
- I wish I had thanked the construction workers for their insight.
- I wish I had applauded the one guy for being so considerate to take off his shoes.
- I wish I had told the other guy how nice it was that he bought his friend a coffee.
- I wish I had told them how cool it was they were taking time to have coffee together rather than making the bar their FIRST stop.
- I wish I had applauded their honest and heart-felt conversation.
- I wish I had leaned over and said, “Dude’s got a point, but dude, why ya gotta say dude so much?” Ha!
But I didn’t. I thought it would have been weird. I let fear get the better of me. And I’m mad at myself.
But I haven’t stopped thinking of the fact that maybe us girls need to be more encouraging in general. Maybe the whole tough guy persona is just that, a persona. Maybe underneath that tough exterior are just little boys that need a word of encouragement for what they ARE getting right, rather that what they always seem to be getting wrong.
Maybe it’s time us girls start being as strong for them as we expect them to be for us. Thoughts?
So to all you dads reading this post: I think you’re doing a bang up job. You bust your butts. You give your all. And you deserve a little recognition. Thanks for everything you do! Happy Father’s Day!
To Del, Dennis, Tony and Chris: bravo. You are loved!