My first impression of Father’s Day was molded by my dad’s notion that it was created to feed the pockets of Hallmark. He never did like any attention and I think that was just his way of saying please don’t do anything special for me today. He has always been a giver and has troubling taking anything, even a compliment. This made it difficult for those of us who love him to show our appreciation for the countless good he has done for us. In an effort not to irritate him we respected his wishes and scarcely mentioned his birthday or Father’s Day. I fear, however, that I may have confused the message and by neglecting to show my dad the proper appreciation and gratitude that he deserves something larger got lost along the way.

All my dad ever wanted was for us to grow up to be good honest G-d-fearing people, and so we all try our best in our own ways.

Isn’t that all a father really wants?

This leads me to think about Our Father in Heaven.

He knows what is in hearts and minds so isn’t it unnecessary to do or say anything special for Him? Isn’t it enough that we be fine upstanding human beings?

Just like my dad doesn’t need special thanks for the food on the table, clothes on my body, roof over my head, my education, etc., G-d doesn’t need it either. I mean it is ridiculous to think we can do anything for G-d anyway.

Upon having my own kids, the realization hit me in a profound way that my showing appreciation and gratitude are not solely for my parents or for G-d but something that strengthens my own character.

I want my kids to say thank you to me for everything big and small because it will make them better human beings. I never want them to take anything for granted or to feel entitled but to understand that everything that comes their way is in large part due the effort of many individuals coupled with the grace of G-d.

However, making our kids say thank you will not make them into better people. We must show them thank you. We must live a life of thank you.

Which means when they do something good say thank you to them too and tell them why you appreciate what they have done. When you go shopping make sure to comment on how amazing it is to have so much to choose from. Before and after you eat make a blessing out loud so your kids will hear it and know that you appreciate that everything comes from G-d. When your neighbor, friend or family member does something nice don’t just say thank you but communicate why you are grateful. Doing these types of things makes us better people, validates others and sets a fine example for our children. It makes for a better society of people who feel appreciated and valued and in turn, will more likely contribute to society.

Therefore on this Father’s Day, I need to thank my dad for everything.

Thank you for giving me life.

Thank you for making sure to provide for all my needs.

Thank you for teaching me values and morals and to have a sense of humor.

Thank you for accepting me with all my many flaws and imperfections.

Thank you for loving me.

And most of all thanks for always being here for me because even though I am a fully grown adult I will always need my dad.

I guess at the end of day I am thankful for Father’s Day because it not only gives us an occasion to verbalize our appreciation for our fathers but to acknowledge that fathers are a vital part of our lives and the more we honor that, the more present they will be for our children, which in turn will make this world a much better place.