Dear Annie: As a father of three, I always find Father's Day a little misleading. Kids don't have to purchase an overpriced card or tie to show their appreciation. I'd rather they simply keep doing what they are already doing: working hard in school. They don't have to be scholars or make the honor roll every time - just doing their best is good enough for me. So this is for my kids:
I appreciate hearing from teachers and others what a great kid you are and the fact that you treat others in accordance to the Golden Rule. I appreciate when you mow the lawn or help Mom with the groceries, and that you are just a terrific person in general. I like it when you talk to me about your day and the issues you face, be it in school, sports or life.
Today is simply another Sunday, because every day is Father's Day to me. I think I speak for most dads out there and can tell you it's what your children do every day that matters. Thanks, kids, for another great year of fatherhood - Wisconsin Dad
Dear Dad: We know you are speaking for a great many fathers today, and the message is an excellent one. Parents are honored every day of the year when their children do their best in school, help around the house and behave well toward others. It demonstrates that Mom and Dad have instilled good values, which is the best compliment. And on that note, happy Father's Day. Here's a lovely piece by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919):
He never made a fortune, or a noise, In the world where men are seeking after fame; But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys, Who loved the very ground on which he trod. They thought him just little short of God; Oh you should have heard the way they said his name - 'Father.'
There seemed to be a loving little prayer, In their voices, even when they called him 'Dad.' Though the man was never heard of anywhere, As a hero, yet somehow understood, He was doing well his part and making good; And you knew it, by the way his children had - of saying 'Father.'
He gave them neither eminence nor wealth, But he gave them blood untainted with a vice, And opulence of undiluted health. He was honest, and unpurchable and kind; He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind. So he made them heirs to riches without price - This father.
He never preached or scolded; and the rod - Well, he used it as a turning pole in play. But he showed the tender sympathy of God. To his children in their troubles, and their joys. He was always chum and comrade with his boys, And his daughters - oh, you ought to hear them say - 'Father.'
Now I think of all achievements 'tis the least, To perpetuate the species; it is done, By the insect and the serpent, and the beast. But the man who keeps his body, and his thought, Worth bestowing on an offspring love-begot, Then the highest earthly glory he was won, When in pride a grown-up daughter or a son says 'That's Father.'
Dear Annie: After reading about fathers telling their injured boys not to cry but to "be a big boy and tough it out," I had to tell you my story.
My friend "Clint" was in his basement. He wasn't expecting company, so he left the trapdoor open. Unfortunately, his daughter and 4-year-old grandson, "Mike," stopped by the house.
Suddenly, Mike came plunging headlong down the steep basement steps. Fortunately, he landed in a pile of empty cardboard boxes. Clint picked Mike up and brushed him off, and Mike started to cry. Clint told him, "Come on, you aren't hurt. Be a big boy. Don't cry." Mike stopped crying, became very angry, stamped his foot and retorted, "Big boy nothing! I'm suing." - Riverside, Calif.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.