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Here’s wishing the good dads a happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day is Sunday. It brings good thoughts for many, hopefully most, people of a dedicated worker, a patient taskmaster, an adviser for life.

That’s not the case for everyone so for those who do have such positive thoughts, be sure to let your father know what he means to you.

Fathers sometimes get a bad knock in the world. They’re often portrayed in entertainment as inept, or aloof or clueless or far worse.

But a good father is the one who lights up from the moment his child is born, or who feels a rise of love when taking on stepchildren. He knows he’s got to at least appear to be a font of knowledge and a role model, or at least to be able to find the answers the child seeks.

He knows in his heart he’s got to be patient, that the kids weren’t born filled with knowledge any more than Dad has all the answers now. But he’s got to feel his way through any situation.

He’s got to be tough enough to apply discipline, but gentle enough to know when it’s best to be a disciplinarian.

He should be gentle enough to provide a kind word after a child has a bad day in school or at home plate or with a boyfriend or girlfriend, no matter how awful his own day has been. He helps heal a child’s skinned knee, skinned heart and skinned pride.

He must instill good values, a good work ethic and a thirst for knowledge. Then one day he’s got to allow his children to move on into the world to make their missteps, despite his best efforts in their upbringing.

Fathers must serve as baseball coach, football coach, basketball coach, mechanic, dance and vocal instructor, math expert, carpenter, school principal, referee, financier, psychologist, therapist, religious educator, fighter and lover, boss and employee. And anything else we missed here.

He must listen, but he’s got to know just the right words to say when it’s time to speak. He’s got less margin for error than a NASA flight controller. But he’s got no handbook, no rules, no guides — only his instincts and, if he’s lucky, a template from a prior generation. A man who chooses to try to be all of that must be full of love.

If your father has played and is playing an important role in your life, tell him thanks tomorrow. If your relationship with your father isn’t all you hoped it would be, a possible route to improvement would begin by trying to figure out how you would deal with all the pressures of the job of father.

Not all men are meant to be fathers. There are those who ruin the word “father” for the rest of men who try their best. Honor those who try their best. Here’s an early Happy Father’s Day to all the good dads — of which there are many — out there.

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