Here’s a great reminder from our best-selling Dad, My Hero book: “Those who say that we live in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look. To find a real hero, sometimes all we have to do is look closer to home." Joseph Campbell once wrote that a hero is not necessarily a legendary figure; more often he’s an everyday person who has given his heart to something bigger than himself. That’s a perfect way to describe a great dad.
It’s true. Few things in life are more powerful or heroic than a father’s positive presence throughout the years. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Think back on some of the simple, loving things he did that made you feel happy and secure. Was it the sound of his footsteps on the stairs, as he hurried home early from work? Was it his laughter at the dinner table? His cheers from the sidelines? His words of encouragement and hope? His hand on your shoulder and a “you can do it” when the going got tough?
Years from now, when you look back on all the times you had with your Dad, chances are you won’t be able to remember all the things he did or said. What you will surely remember, however, is how he made you feel---and that feeling will always be with you.
There’s a little poem by Marsha Jeffrey Hendrickson that expresses what I’m trying to say. I once had this poem typeset and framed for my own dad at Father’s Day. He kept it on a shelf with his favorite family pictures for years, and we included it in his memorial service when he died:
When I was with my father,
when I was just a child,
the world was filled with wonder
and every place was wild.
And every day was magic,
and Santa Claus was true,
and all the things that mattered
were things my father knew.
We often went exploring. . .
and I learned to love the land,
but the greatest thing I ever learned
was how to understand---
That the finest gifts are often
things we may not always see;
when I wasn’t with my father,
my father was with me.
A great dad is someone we look up to, no matter how old we are. He may not be perfect, but he has given his heart to his kids, over and over, especially when it counted.