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Great responsibility, great rewards come with being a father

TIRED LITTLE BALL PLAYER – Grayson Coates finds Dad’s shoulder a litte more to his liking than playing in the field during a recent t-ball game in Wesson.

By Joe B. Coates

Father’s Day is this Sunday and is the day of the year that we Dad’s get a little pat on the back from our kids and wives for being ‘Daddy.’  So much goes along with the word ‘Daddy’ that one column is not nearly enough to explain, but here goes:

When kids call ‘Daddy’ or ‘Dad’, instantly, if we have been paying close attention all these years, we know just about what that child or those children are going to ask of us or what they are doing just by the tone of their voice.  For instance, a long draw out “Daaaaaa-deeeeee” means something along the lines of “can I have this (insert toy’s name or type of toy)” while inside the store or “can I watch cartoons/a movie/play a videogame” at home.  The request comes from the child in a way that they know they may be asking for a lot, and Dad will probably say ‘no’, but if by chance Dad acquiesces, then the reward is huge.

A short ‘Da-dee’ is usually followed by “he won’t give me my ball” or “she’s in my room”.  In other words, the child wants you to solve quickly a problem with possession or turf between siblings or friends that has suddenly arisen.  And, somebody’s feelings are going to get hurt, no matter what a father does at this point.  Such situation can be either averted or aggravated by inserting the word “share” in the discussion, but a good father will meet it head on.

Another version of the salutation, “Hey, Daddy….” mostly means “Let’s go throw the ball” or “Can you fix me some chocolate milk” or “is it okay if I wipe mud all over my brother.”  The latter usually depends on whether Mommy is close by or if we are expecting to go somewhere soon.  But, if neither of those criteria are met, caution is thrown into the wind, and it’s mud-slinging time.

As strong as we Dad’s are or appear to be, especially to the little ones or the more fearful ones, we can melt at the drop of a hat, coerced into sticky situations.  If a child’s voice has high melting power when “Daaaa-deeee, can I have a sno-cone?” is called, we are in trouble. And, especially if the ‘puppy-dog eyes’ are used at just the right moment, we can try very hard to deny such request, but usually that second “Daddy–pleeeeeeeaaaaaasssssse–let’s go get a sno-cone??!??” knocks down that rigid facade, and we cave.  It is a moment that shouldn’t be regretted, but one that should be cherished, no matter how much of the juice is spilled on the seats of the car or truck.

Most of us were probably scared to death about being a father from the moment we found out we would be.  The first time, though, we held that little bundle of helplessness, crying out for nurturing and strength, we knew that we were ready.  The future became one not to be fearful of, but one to be embraced.  Life as we knew it was changed, and it was for the better.

Yes, being called “Dad” or “Daddy” by your own children is truly an honor.  Those of us who claim that title are truly blessed by the Father himself.  We hope all of you Dad’s have a great Father’s Day.

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