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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