By Howard Harrison
Happy Father’s Day, Clark. It’s your first as a father. I can only hope little Olive gives you as much pleasure as you have given me over these last 30 years.
I too became a father at 30. I’m now twice that. You were born into a much different world than I was, just as Olive has been born into a much different world than you were. I know you love her with all your heart. Now you know how I feel.
Being a parent is not easy. It’s the hardest job there is. I wish I could tell you it gets easier. It does not. But it’s also the most important job there is. And it has its rewards. The best for me is seeing my son become a dedicated parent himself.
When I was born, there were no personal computers, video games, cell phones or digital music. TV was new and you only got a few channels, all black and white, and you never got a clear picture. Just imagine the technologies Olive will be exposed to. Maybe you can. I can’t.
She will challenge your ideas. When I grew up, I challenged my parents on sex, drugs, marriage, religion, war, hair styles, dress codes and racial equality. Your generation is the most inclusive, tolerant and color-blind yet. I’d like to think we Baby Boomers had something to do with that. But we have our differences too. I can’t conjecture what Olive will challenge you on. But she will.
The pressures of life will get in the way: the pressure to earn a living, live where you want to live, do what you want to do, all while loving and taking care of your family in the healthiest way possible. This comes with the territory. But here’s the good news: the pleasure beats the pressure if you do your job right.
Despite the pressure, always remember to laugh and don’t be afraid to cry. As adults, we don’t do enough of either. Take a cue from Olive on this one.
Children remind you that life should be fun, and it can be if we let it. But it’s up to us adults, as parents, to raise our kids in a positive atmosphere no matter what else might be swirling around us. We owe it to them. It is part of the job.
This day used to belong to my dad. Then it belonged to me. Now, on your first Father’s Day as a father, it belongs to us, Clark. And I couldn’t be more proud.
Howard Harrison is an award-winning journalist with more than 35 years of experience writing for corporations and other organizations. He recently published his first bylined book title, NOW they make it legal: Reflections of an aging Boomer, available at www.nowtheymakeitlegal.com and other online book retailers.