By Melody M. Ott
LCSW with Wellbeing Collective
It is Father’s Day weekend. I don’t know about you, but in my house, we really do try to make dad feel loved and special. Unfortunately, sometimes in the busyness, we don’t always do all that we should! This year my husband will be at our older son’s lacrosse tournament while I am taking our middle son to summer camp – Happy Father’s Day!? Hopefully we will have time for his favorite dinner (I guess I should ask him what he would like to eat?!). The truth is, Father’s Day is simply a reminder to do the things we are hopefully doing all year long to nurture and support the father figures in our lives.
I recently saw a T-shirt advertisement for dad’s that said Fa-Thor. Of course, the father in the ad was a big, strong, bearded man – yes, he was tough and Thor-like! And while our dads may be softer, smaller, stronger, or tougher than Thor, all dads need a little tenderness, right? Dads are traditionally seen as the provider, the disciplinarian, the protector... essentially all things strong and powerful. I can only imagine that this puts a lot of pressure on them sometimes. So how can we nurture the fathers in our lives on Father’s Day and every day?
One way we can help our dads to be healthy is to help them manage some of the pressure they feel. We all have to manage stress because it is a part of our lives, but small things can make a pretty big impact. It doesn’t have to cost money; it doesn’t have to be complicated. I have broken it down into three simple steps!
Hugs. Step one is to give hugs! Physical touch has so many benefits. It helps our body to stay healthy by lowering blood pressure and reducing stress hormones in the body. So hug, high- five, fist bump, and pat dad on the back! It will help you too!
Laughter. Step two is to make dad laugh. Not only will laughter help to tone dad’s abs (very Thor-like), but it will also help prevent disease, improve heart function, and boost immune function too! Tell dad a joke, put on a silly play, and just have some fun!
Affirmation. Step three is to tell dad about a quality that you admire. Telling dad some of the things you like most about him will help him experience more gratitude. It can also help him to decrease stress and keep things in perspective. Write down his best qualities and put them on sticky notes all around the house. Hide notes in his sock drawer telling him what you love most about him. Send him a letter. It really is the little things that mean the most!
This Father’s Day, I encourage you to keep it simple and take it back down to basics. Even if the fathers in your life are “living Thor’s”, they still need hugs, laughter and affirmation…and maybe a new tool? Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, uncles, grandfathers, step-dads, foster dads, and father figures out there – you are important!