I'm always amazed, and saddened, when I come across fathers that have been estranged from their kids.
Watching my kids grow up has been a joy, for the most part, the extent of which I never could have predicted prior to becoming a father.
I was fortunate to have a great role model. I know many guys did not.
Life lessons from my father included:
* never retire "to the couch." Even after he retired, and even after his Parkinson's disease was advanced, he was always up to something. He loved to tinker with electronics, model airplanes and was always thinking of things to patent.
* he always rallied to play catch, shoot baskets or play other sports, even when I knew he was tired from working all day.
* he always made it a priority to be there for events. I always knew he would be in the stands, with my mother, often before I had even arrived on the team bus.
* he always put the needs of his family first.
* he encouraged us to enjoy life, to never give up or to run away from our problems.
* he always treated others with respect, no matter their status in life.
*he showed us the importance of a good sense of humor.
* he modeled being an excellent husband and maintaining respectful communication, while working through all of life's problems, with my Mom.
To any fathers that are estranged from their kids: think strongly about trying to re-connect. Ain't nothing better in the world than to receive a card from your kids on Father's Day that says "thanks for being a great Dad!"