Guest Opinion: Wisdom Workout 

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A Father’s Day Tribute 

Susan Velasquez

 My father lives vividly in my memory. His artistic hands. Him playing the piano with spurts of passion. The smell of his pipe smoke. The intensity in his eyes and the set of his jaw. How he would uncharacteristically chuckle out loud at Abbott and Costello movies. 

Our fathers have a crucial impact on our sense of self and how we interpret our place in the world. The role of father was often ill-defined in the past as a shadow figure. The head of the household, the breadwinner, emotionally distant and often unreachable.  

Fathers today are rapidly changing that image. I love to see young fathers walk down the street having an easy conversation with their six-year-old or infant strapped to their chest and capable arms holding them close. 

The other day, I was in a restaurant and watched a young father whose face lit up as he and his four-year-old daughter sat at a table next to a small group of young girls wearing cheerleading uniforms. “So, you are all cheerleaders?” “Yup!” They beamed. “That’s really cool.” He said, validating their accomplishment with his attention.   

If we could fast-forward into the future, here is the heartfelt appreciation I imagine these children will be able to feel as a result of having fathers that do their best to guide them through their loving attention. 

Love is transferred in the moments that are shared together. If you are a father, imagine receiving a card with a thank you letter tucked inside, written by your now adult son or daughter, delivered from the future if they are still children today or in real time if your children are all grown and your hands-on fathering duties are completed.  

“Dad, I appreciate all that you have done for me. I want to thank you for liking me. You gave me the feeling that I was special and worthwhile because you seemed happy to spend time with me. You gave me the gift of knowing that you liked me that much. 

Thank you for pursuing work that you cared about and was important to you. I knew you brought something special to your work that was all your own, and I was proud of you for that. Your work never defined you. You, instead, defined your work so that you could come home and turn your attention from your work to our family. You gave me the gift of knowing that who I am as a person is the most important contribution I can make to my success in the world. 

You helped me have hopes and dreams for my life by always assuring me that my path to happiness would be up to me. You never stopped wishing me well, even though my path would differ from yours. You let me know you were behind me all the way. You encouraged me to pick myself up when I stumbled and fell. You helped me find my footing once again and then stepped back once I stood again. You gave me the gift of self-determination. You supported and loved who I was so that I could become. 

Dad, thank you for telling me the truth through your actions and emotional expression. When you smiled at me, your eyes were approving. When you were angry, I felt your disappointment. I knew that you always stayed connected even when you were upset with me. You let me see how to be honorable and authentic by being connected to my feelings and thoughts. 

Dad, thank you for your humor and playfulness. Your eye-rolling, teasing, bad jokes, laughing at yourself and your mistakes let me know I didn’t always have to be on guard or perfect in everything I do. You encouraged me to ‘go for it,’ whether it was sports or friendships, and to roll with the punches as one of the prices of taking risks and embracing challenges. You helped me learn that my physical, mental and emotional muscles grow stronger by taking action instead of always playing it safe. 

These are just a few of the gifts I carry with me. Thank you, Dad. I love you.”  

Happy Father’s Day to all our Laguna Dads 2023!  

Susan has been a Laguna local since 1986 and is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” susanvelasquez.com.

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