Simplifying Father’s Day

Simplify Father's Day Family History for Children

Call me a traitor to mothers and father’s everywhere, but I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Or more accurately, I’m not a fan of the pressures of these days for grand gestures, gifts, and projects. For those who like those things, have at it. There’s no one way to celebrate the patriarchs and matriarchs in the family. For those like me who shrug your shoulders, let me make a suggestion. Simplify Father’s Day.

This Father’s Day, just say THANK YOU to the father’s in your life.

Those two words are powerful. Gratitude is better if you give it away, you’ll wind up having more. It’s like a magic penny. Lend it and spend it and you’ll have so many they’ll roll all over the floor.  So, forego the craft projects, ties, and root beer, and just say thank you.

As I believe in leading my example, I’ll say thank you to my father-in-law with a family history twist!

Thank you, Russ, for teaching my husband: Don’t let your education get in the way of your schooling.

I adore my husband. It’s the half that makes me whole. Much of who he is comes from his father who taught him how to be a man. Andy’s mother placed a high emphasis on education and Russ fully supported her views. He only suggested that if acquiring education did not allow for fun along the way, then it wasn’t worth doing.

Make Time for Fun While Earning Your Degree
Russ Lee, a supporting actor from “Ice Cream and Elevators”

While obtaining his college degree, Russ made time for fun. He participated in the theater program and appeared in the movie “Ice Cream and Elevators.” We still have a digitized copy of that old movie and share it with our kids. Poor Russ. He was the spurned boyfriend in the movie. My kids can’t believe how young Russ looked in this film, but we all know he had a lot of fun. After college, he went on to work as a partner with his wife to provide for and rear their children.

Andy took his father’s advice to heart in high school during his English classes. He didn’t like reading books he felt he would never need in the future… namely anything by the Bronte Sisters. Instead, he completed assignments and turned in humorous essays discussing why he couldn’t actually read the assigned books. He also colluded with his classmates to insert a highfalutin word into everyone’s essay. During the oral presentations, the teacher was impressed that the word was used by the first student. When the second student used the word, her eyebrows raised. When the third student read their essay and the keyword was read once more, the teacher clued in and Andy smiled with pride and humor. He wasn’t letting school interfere with having fun and his education. (By the way, Andy and I compiled these stories and others into a book and called it “How to Fail English With Style.” Russ is pretty proud of his son’s achievements!)

When he went to college, Andy’s mother was deeply concerned about Andy living in a condemned dorm room at Texas A&M University with a giant Playboy bunny logo in the halls. Puryear Hall is long gone, but Andy made a lot of great memories while acquiring his education. One of those memories involved having his head shaved.

Don't Let Schooling Get In the Way of Education
When an Aggie tradition builds upon a father’s advice: Priceless

A discontinued tradition at Texas A&M University is building a 95 story bonfire on campus and burning it before the annual A&M vs. t.u. game. (t.u. Is Aggie slang for that burnt orange longhorn university over in Austin). In order to build such a bonfire, student organizations would serve shifts cutting logs, hauling them to the transports, and then building them into a multi-tier stack. Puryear Hall served their shifts but built camaraderie between the dorm mates by shaving letters into the heads of the freshmen. The letters would then spell words or phrases such as, “Puryear Builds Aggie Bonfire.” Andy was a letter A.

One would think being a “Letterhead” would not help Andy become a great father and they would be wrong. Through his year at Puryear Hall, Andy built skills he has used to have continuous employment. He has worked in the oil & gas industry, with the Navy as a civilian contractor, at a nuclear power plant, and attended code meetings with government regulators and industry professionals. Through all his work experiences, his co-workers love that Andy gets the job done but has fun along the way. He still tries to insert highfalutin words into work reports, but they generally are edited about before the final draft.

My husband’s personal history builds upon his father’s legacy. My children are constantly trying to insert more fun into their school assignments, just like dad and just like grandpa.

In the spirit of simplifying Father’s Day, I honor my father-in-law by saying thank you.

Say Thank You this Father’s Day.

This Father’s Day, make a card, send an email, write a blog post, or record a video. Simply identify something that your father or grandfather has taught you and how you’ve applied it in your life. Then say thank you. You just might make this Father’s Day the best one yet with a little family history in the mix (those stories and the fact that you recorded it). Then, treat dad to dessert, because few men will refuse an edible treat.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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