Those who say that we live in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look.
To find a real hero, sometimes all we have to do is look closer to home. Joseph Campbell wrote that a hero is not necessarily a legendary figure; more often he’s an everyday person who has given his heart to something bigger than himself—his family, for instance.
It’s true. Few things in life are more powerful or heroic than a father’s simple positive presence through the years. It doesn’t have to be fancy or dramatic. Think back on some of the basic loving things your father did that made you feel happy and secure. For me, it was the sound of his footsteps on the back stairs, as he hurried home from his truck-driving job to play with his kids. It was his reliable presence and laughter at our dinner table each night. It was his cheers from the sidelines. His quiet words of encouragement and pride. His hand on my shoulder or a “you can do it” when the going got tough.
Years from now, when you look back on all the times you had with your dad, you won’t be able to remember all the things he did or said. But you will surely remember how he made you feel—and that feeling is something you will always carry with you.
There’s a poem by Marsha Jeffrey Hendrickson that expresses what I’m trying to say. Many years ago, when my own dad was still alive, I had this little poem framed for him at Father’s Day. He kept it on a shelf in his living room for years, and we read it at his memorial service when he died:
When I was with my father,
when I was just a child,
the world was filled with wonder
and every place was wild.
And every day was magic,
and Santa Claus was true,
and all the things that mattered
were things my father knew.
We often went exploring. . .
and I learned to love the land,
but the greatest thing I ever learned
was how to understand
That the finest gifts are often
things we may not always see;
when I wasn’t with my father,
my father was with me.
A great dad is someone we look up to, no matter how old we are. He may not be perfect, but chances are he has given his heart to his kids, over and over through the years, especially when it counted the most.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. You are still my hero, and I miss you.