Father’s Day 2010

According to American retailers, Dads don’t do much but play with power tools, do yard work, golf,and wear socks.

If I believe the magazine and newspaper stories I’ve read this past week, dads don’t know how to relate to the children they brought into this world:

“How to Bond on Daddy’s Day!”  (You have to be taught?)

“What Kids Need From Fathers Now.” (A man with a backbone.)

After tossing the Sunday ads into the recycling bin, I went outside to wage my latest war on stray Bermuda grass. While mixing toxic chemicals it occurred to me — we Rineharts live quite a different life from the one portrayed in the typical Father’s Day advertisements.  When I married Scott, my dowry consisted not of a cedar trunk containing family linens and grandma’s china, but the trunk of an old Monte Carlo containing a socket wrench set and tool box.

My husband came into the marriage with a sleek, shiny car and a professional grade mastery of ironing, but lack of experience in the Mr. Fix It department.  In his childhood home, repairmen were called when anything broke or needing replacing.  In my childhood home, a broken appliance or light fixture in need of rewiring was an occasion for daddy-daughter bonding.  Often all four of us kids were called down to the basement for our latest shop lesson.  “Red to red, black to black…who can show me the ground wire?”

The combination of newlywed low funds and fear of looking inept in front of his wife and father in law was potent: Scott learned by force to fix and replace just about anything.

Over the past 23 years, he’s fixed water heaters, dishwashers, wallboard, ceiling fans, phone lines and sprinkler systems.  But my favorite skills of his were, and are, changing diapers, mixing formula by the blender-full, middle of the night feedings, sending me away on girls only weekends, reading Stop That Ball! eighteen times in a row, and yes, ironing.

Those “skills” made him a great dad in my eyes, as did his character traits of integrity, honesty, sensibility, stability, affection and thoughtfulness.  He taught our children much when he sent them to find the needle nose pliers or flip a fuse, more so when he was simply there for them… at home, school, in the middle of the night, on the phone, with each sandwich he packed in their school lunches and with every personal luxury he sacrificed to give his children a warm home, good education and time — simply being a great dad.

Now he just needs to teach them to iron.

Happy Father’s Day!

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  • lkeebler

    Oh how much children need their daddy!! So much secular junk down plays the role of dad trying to make him look like a bumbling useless clueless bystander in the family plan. But he is the rock, the head, the courage, the leader, the teacher. God bless all those dads out there, God bless and help them and give them all the wisdom and knowledge and encouragement they need.

  • aquinas74

    Dear Mrs. Rinehart:

    Thank you!!

    My Queen Sandra and I have been married for 23 years. This is the 2d for each of us (priors both annulled). Between us, there are 7 children & 13 grandchildren. The last two children are ours. I believe that playing Canasta caused her to conceive?? You see, I’m a man and what do I know?

    We both enjoyed the hilarity of “All in the Family”, “Everbody Loves Raymond”, and “Tim Allen’s Tool Time”. At my expense! Each man’s expense! In spite of the laughter, I resented being the pawn, butt and whipping post of all the ills of American family life. I still watch them though.

    Growing up in the 40s & 50s (1840s…), I learned much about how to fix this and that from my dad. Recently, moreover, I’ve learned how to put gas (or is it petrol?) in my 2000 Chevy S-10. And, oh, I can also change light bulbs all by my very own self.

    My Queen and I are strong orthodox Roman Catholics, albeit sinners, (she a convert in the 1970s). We have endeavored to teach by example and reading the Catholic Bible and other orthodox Catholic literature, and by discussing moral, social and spiritual issues of the day – and of Natural Law and the Eternal Verities. Both of our last children, Abraham (21) & Isaac (19), (remember Canasta?) are pro-life, and believe that marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN remember Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve?)

    Recently, Isaac asked me about the sin against the Holy Spirit. I explained it to him. Isaac is constantly asking questions about Church teachings (notice the capital “C”), and history.

    Sandra and I are also Third Order Dominicans. Her favorite is St. Magdalene and mine is St. Thomas Aquinas

    Yours in “Our Father Who art in Heaven” and St. Dominic,

    Phil & Sandra Ferguson, O.P.L.

  • http://www.catholicexchange.com Mary Kochan

    The only thing wrong with you, Phil, is that you and Sandra do not live on my block!

    Thanks for this delightful post — you made me smile.

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