Father’s Day of Forgiveness

by Bob Schwartz

Among fathers who aren’t indifferent or hostile to the artifice, many seem happy to accept a day set aside for the appreciation they may or may not get the rest of the year.

But that premise is limited and distant from a certain reality. Being a father is very complicated, and looking back on the experience can be as troubling as it is sweet. You can survey the stacks of achievements and regrets, or you can just accept the reality that we did what we did, we were  who we were, in the face of forces for which guidance and history is of limited utility.

Among all that is a realization that whether or not there are things we did right or wrong, there are definitely things for which forgiveness might be sought. You may think that Father’s Day could be a time for imperfect children (all of them) to seek forgiveness of fathers. That is the completely wrong direction. It is a time for imperfect fathers (all of them) to get the appreciation they deserve—for better or worse. And when it is for worse, it follows that forgiveness will be sought—and hopefully granted. Father’s Day is a free pass. Father’s Day is a day of forgiveness.

Hallmark doesn’t have a card for this, but with the greeting card industry, who knows?: Please Forgive Me Son. Happy Father’s Day.