Monthly Archives: February 2014

#ThankYouDad

my father didn't tell me how to live

So…I’m obsessed with the Olympics. Really, it’s not good for me to be at my apartment if I have any homework because it doesn’t get done—I just watch the Olympics…all the time. Good thing midterms are coming up, I’ll be super prepared.

Anyway, because I have spent long hours watching the Olympics I have seen every single “Thank You Mom” commercial there is to see. I’m pretty sure every company who is advertising in the Olympics has this slogan in some way, shape or form. These commercials are pretty awesome. The P&G ones definitely bring me to tears. They are a beautiful and a wonderful example, of just a fraction, of what mothers do for us (which is a lot, if you didn’t know). Mothers are like a whole different species of a super human and they deserve to have recognition, not just at the Olympics, but every day—because they are awesome. But here is my question, why aren’t Dad’s getting any love? Why don’t they ever get love?

It’s not just the Olympics. When watching TV the majority of Dads are portrayed as either deadbeats or idiots (or both). Not all shows are like this, obviously, but it is really hard to find a dad who is a solid man and father. Where are they? Where are the heads of the households?

We don’t respect fatherhood as a culture, and it shows. And because of this lack of value, the art and beauty of true fatherhood is dying—and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Luckily, it’s not lost yet and there are still so many wonderful examples of true fatherhood.

I was so extremely blessed to have a great and wonderful dad who lived in a way that showed his children how to live good and true lives with a purpose. There are also so many fathers who have impacted my life: friend’s dads, dads friends, my uncles, my grandparents, and I also have the greatest brother-in-law, who is a great example of what a father should be—so, needless to say, I have been blessed with some great men in my life.

This is why the lack of coverage for solid dad’s makes me upset. We need to show the world that great fathers exist and that all men who are lucky enough to be dads should strive to be examples of true fatherhood.

And so, while I don’t speak for everyone, and this won’t be seen by everyone, I would like to do my part to thank my dad for all that he’s done in my own #ThankYouDad segment, and recognize the beauty of fatherhood.

Thank You Dad

1. Thank you Dad for reading to your kids every night. This practice instilled within me a love for reading and learning that I hold with me still.

2. Thank you Dad for making your daughters wear skirts to Sunday Mass, and never budging on this. This rule helped me understand the importance of what is happening when I enter into Mass and it always reminds me that no matter what I do in a week, Holy Mass will always be the most important.

3. Thank you Dad for teaching me not to mock the other players of another team. I remember one particular instance—Minnesota vs. Maine, NCAA championship hockey game, 2002. Gophers were about to break their 23-year drought without a championship. Very exciting time in the Maher household. I remember the camera flashed over to Maine’s goalie and I made some smart comment about him. My Dad quickly corrected me and told me there is no reason to ridicule someone because of their misfortune. This one moment taught me that all people deserve respect, even if you despise them—like the Green Bay Packers or North Dakota.

4. Thank you Dad for playing classical music on the drive to Church every Sunday. This showed me how much beauty there can be in the lack of words and that sometimes saying nothing is more powerful than saying everything.

5. Thank you Dad for coming to all my event when I was younger (games, plays, concerts). Even if I wasn’t the best at what I was doing (clearly hypothetical), you still came to everything and told me you were proud of me. I can never express how much that meant to me.

6. Thank you Dad for telling me, at a very young age, to be proud of being Irish. Then and now this sense of identity has made me proud of who I am and who my family is.

7. Thank you Dad for not bringing work home with you. This showed me that family is more important than money.

8. Thank you Dad for making me go through the “Sean Maher dish washer loading tutorial.” This taught me that a little organization can go a long way. (I still need to work on perfecting this lesson–not exactly my area of expertise.)

9. Thank you Dad for doing puzzles with me at 3 a.m. (and other times of the day). Sometimes life is in jumbles and a mess and when you look at it, you think that there is no way it is going to work out. But through hard work, patience and dedication it does work out and it is beautiful.

10. Thank you dad for getting me a ring on my 16th birthday. You told me that it was to remind me that I am worth the highest form of love that is possible, and I should never settle for less.

This is just my short list of what I would like to thank my dad for everything that he did for me.

Clearly, I was spoiled. Not with possessions, but with quality time and attention. This type of love deserves to be recognized and I pray that we can return to a time when all children experience this beautiful fatherly love.

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Finally Allowing Herself to Become Who She’d Always Been

allowing herself to become

Oh the beauty of peer pressure! Not a line I usually use, but in some cases peer pressure can be a glorious thing.

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Scholastica, one of our main patron saints here at Benedictine, along with her brother St. Benedict. Well, I had forgotten it was her feast day, and since my mornings usually consist of me rolling out of bed at the last possible second and then rushing to get to class on time, I hadn’t checked my e-mail to see that there was an all-school Mass in her honor at 10 a.m. Well, I got out of my morning class at 9:50 and ran into a few of my friends who asked if I was going to Mass—I thought they were talking about 12:05 and so I told them no because I have a noon seminar. As I left the FAC a couple other people asked me if I was going to Mass—I found this extremely strange for a couple reasons: first of all, I can usually go until 1 p.m. without talking to more than two people and secondly, no one usually cares about when I go to Mass. Once I actually paid attention to my surroundings, I noticed a flood of people heading toward the Abbey. I was extremely confused and I started to worry that it was a Holy Day of Obligation which I had completely forgotten about. Therefore, when the next person I ran into asked if I was going to Mass, I just gave in and said I was. Peer pressure done right, my friends.

It wasn’t until Prior James welcomed us to Mass did I find out that it was not a Holy Day but rather just a feast day of an awesome saint (I guess I could’ve just asked someone, but after being Catholic for 22 years, it’s a little embarrassing to be unsure about Holy Days…). Anyway, right then I was just overcome with happiness that I went to BC—I mean where else would I be pressured into going to Mass just because everyone else was doing it?

So how does this story tie into the quote I chose to write about? Well, during that Mass I really felt that being at this school was allowing me to be the best version of myself, and to be who I truly wanted to be. I don’t think going to college or to BC has changed who I am, but it has helped me become me. A man named William Sloan said what he wanted to gain from reading was for the story to “tell me more about me. I want to be more alive. Give me me”—this is what I want from life. I want it to make me me.

Now, this is not a quick process. I’m not going to wake up one day and say, “Hey! I’m exactly who I should be!”—one, I would completely freak out my roommate because I am never chipper in the morning, and two because that’s just not how it works. To become me it takes struggles, it takes tears, hurts ,screams and moments of coming dang near to giving up—it doesn’t sound fun, but the reason this makes me me is because it challenges me to be exactly who I want to be in the worst of situations. An Olympic athlete doesn’t become that by competing against the easiest opponents, but by defeating the hardest—by overcoming the toughest of struggles.

While I know this all is true, it’s a little discouraging at times. I mean, the rule of life really should be if I’m a good person, good things should happen to me and I will be happy—this seems like the fairest option in my mind. Well, unfortunately the world doesn’t play by the rules I create in my mind, and good people are not always rewarded the way we think they should be. But there has to be a way for us to be happy. I know God never gives us something we can’t handle, and I truly don’t believe he will never put us in a position where being happy is not a possibility. So how do we obtain this happiness?

Lately, like all of you I hope, I have been glued to the Olympics (if you are not, I seriously hope you take a good long look at your life choices and then change them). It doesn’t matter what sport is on, I will watch it ,and besides hockey, obviously, I can’t say I have a favorite Olympic sport. Well, while watching the Olympics, the same thought often comes to mind: “Man, if I could just be an Olympic (enter sport of choice here), I would be so happy,” and really, I probably would be. If I had the ability to win gold in an Olympic sport, I would be stoked. However, to the shock of most of you, I don’t have the ability or the means to be an Olympic athlete, and there was really no time in my life where I made a choice to either go on the track to be an Olympian or to not be—it just wasn’t an option. So does that mean I am never going to be able to be happy because I did not dedicate my time to be an awesome snowboarder? Well, I hope not because that would really suck. Good thing I don’t think that’s how God would let things go down.

When I look at the Olympians I think that if only I was better at life I could be as happy as them, but that’s not it, as the quote says it is not about becoming better but about allowing yourself to be you’ve always been. There are so many fears and doubts holding me back from being me, but unless I embrace the person God wants me to be, the person He created me to be, it will be difficult to be truly happy because I will basically be fighting against myself—and in that fight I will never win.

The quote above by Amy Rubin sums up my college experience very nicely, I’m finally allowing myself to become who I’ve always been. And so, as my darling friend Abbey Barry always says and I’ve said here before, “Be who you are” and never stop trying to discover and reveal more about you.