The Best a Man Can Be

I’ve never liked calling it “Father’s Day.”
I’d rather say, “Happy Dad’s Day.”
Everyone has a father.
Only the lucky ones get to have a “dad.”

Whether your children are biological, adopted, kin, or otherwise claimed, if they’re proud to call you dad, then you’re exactly what the world needs more of. More than anything else in this world, we need men like you. We need men who show up, give love, and demonstrate integrity, vulnerability, and strength in their words and deeds.

My greatest respect to those who play a part. To my brothers who are “father figures” – teachers, coaches, pastors, mentors, counselors, neighbors, and kin. If you step up to better the life of a child, you are doing the most honorable thing a man can do. You are a good man and believe me, I know it’s often far from easy.

There’s almost always a price to pay in being a good man. It comes naturally to us even though we often have no idea what we’re doing. That’s the hardest part…if what you learned most growing up was what not to do, then you know the fear of praying,

“Please God just don’t let me screw them up. In everything I do, please, please, please don’t ever let me make them feel how I felt. They’re so perfect and I love them so very much. I’ll do anything, just please show me what I’m supposed to do and I swear I’ll do it. Please…”

Being a good dad is a never ending series of investments and sacrifices. Most of all, there’s just a hell of a lot of hard work.

There’s worrying. There’s a never ending list of roles and things that need doing. There’s the pressure of wanting to be a good provider. There’s pulling extra shifts because the orthodontist has to get paid. If you’ve worked until your back was wracked with pain and smiled as you gave piggy back rides anyway…well then you get to reap the rewards:

You get to know to the core of your being that the most important thing(s) you have ever done or ever will do, were done to the best of your ability.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re now thinking about the stuff you could have done better at. Go easy on yourself. We all screw up.

So maybe you get to have a day of barbecues and a new tie. More importantly, you get to give and receive unconditional love. You are deserving of enormous respect from yourself and others. You get to admire your kids. You also get to cry your eyes out when they leave for college, call you from jail, or get married.

Maybe you get to be a grand dad. Maybe you’ll show up for somebody else’s kids. Please don’t ever allow yourself to go without the responsibility and joy of having a young person looking up to you.

My heart is full to bursting with the love of the young people who see me as a dad. Nothing has brought me greater satisfaction than giving what lesser men denied them.

Remember, it’s not just what we do; it’s who we show them that we are. In so doing, we model, we inspire, and we teach.

The world needs more men who show strength through love, nurturance, and peace.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.