EDITOR’S NOTE: Starting July 3, “Dear Annie” will replace “Annie’s Mailbox.” Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar are retiring.
Dear Readers: Happy Father’s Day to all of the men in our reading audience who have had the pleasures and responsibilities of raising children. Studies have shown that fathers also are tremendously important to a child’s emotional, academic and moral development. Children who maintain close relationships with loving fathers do better in school and are more likely to stay off drugs. And you don’t have to be a biological father. You can be a stepfather, grandfather and anyone who is a father figure for a child who needs him. Having a caring father is one of life’s great joys. Please call yours today to say you are thinking of him.
Here’s one of our favorite poems for fathers. We don’t have an author, but we know the piece appeared in the Danbury, Connecticut, NewsTimes many years ago. Here it is:
4 years old: My daddy can do anything.
7 years old: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot.
8 years old: My father doesn’t know quite everything.
12 years old: Oh, well, naturally, Father doesn’t know that, either.
14 years old: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years old: Oh, that man is out-of-date. What did you expect?
25 years old: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years old: Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks.
35 years old: A little patience. Let’s get Dad’s assessment before we do anything.
50 years old: I wonder what Dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart.
60 years old: My dad knew absolutely everything!
65 years old: I’d give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man.
Dear Annie: My ex-husband and I split when our youngest child was 7. He left me to raise six children by myself. He did not have much of a relationship with the kids. He did not acknowledge their accomplishments or even tell them that he loved them. They had to stay in their bedrooms when he was around.
After our divorce, I always urged the kids to call him on Father’s Day and on his birthday, even though he never called or sent a card for them. He never acknowledged Christmas. He never came over to spend time with them. But I knew my children were hurting and that they needed their father. I never disparaged him to them. I encouraged them to have whatever relationship was possible.
Today, my children are close to their father, and I am glad that they are letting go of some of the anger. I have never felt threatened by him being in their lives. If you love your children with all your heart, you will always want what is best for them. – Raised Six Caring People
Dear Raised: Thank you for being such a wonderful mother that you recognize how important a father can be to his children.