Father’s Day is 105 Years Old* The third Sunday in June we celebrate Father’s Day– June 21, 2015 this year.
WHAT DO OLDER FATHERS WANT FOR FATHER’S DAY? Noncommercial tops the list…togetherness and the personal touch.
- Being able to do something with their child(ren)/their family. Some say it really doesn’t matter “what,” it’s just good to be together. (And this doesn’t differ from what most mothers want for Mother’s Day.) Easier to do when children live near. Ideas for being together are only limited by our imagination. We go to them; they come to us. We do something special based on their interests (day trip, ballgame, picnic etc); they come over and “it’s just good to be together” (and usually includes a meal).
Aging, old and very elderly parents like to reminisce with family who share common memories. One nephew, whose father has died, invites his 90-something-year-old uncle and wife to his apartment for dinner in June each year. They talk about old times, the uncle shares his remembrances and loves the evening.
- Being able to do whatever they want with their child(ren) on a given day. In other words, an IOU for a day and doings of their choice.
on the other hand–
- To get a nice card, with a nice sentiment, and be left alone (or with only his wife) is the wish of one aging father who sees his children daily or almost daily and has a need to “carve out time for himself.”
Of course, celebrating Father’s Day (as well as Mother’s day) is especially meaningful when far-away-living children can participate; but that’s often not possible.
- A Father’s Day card, with a calendar page enclosed marking the date with plans to be together at a later time or enclosing tickets for something to do together at a later time, has both immediate and long-lasting value. And sometimes we just hit it right and that big effort becomes a cherished memory. “Dad was beginning to have problems. I think he knew it. He wanted one more opportunity for a fishing trip…just the two of us. And he phoned me here in the East and asked if I could come out West so we could go fishing together. We did. It was his last fishing trip. It was like old times.”
CAN A TECHNOLOGY-RELATED GIFT ADD SOMETHING TO AN AGING FATHER’S LIFE?
While some older fathers are clueless about technology, some are certified techies, and others–deep down– may be curious. So adding new technology to their lives would help them age well–or better. The simplicity or complexity depends, of course, on ability and desire–regardless of age.
- One grandchild, who thought grandpa would like a computer, made a very simple instruction booklet, beginning with turning on/off the computer, and accessing, writing and sending emails–very limited. (He could add to it later if need be.) It came with Grandpa’s new computer–a gift from the family.
- An adult son downloaded his elderly father’s favorite music to an iPod and showed him how to use it. His 90-year-old father doesn’t “do” technology, but loves music.
- An IOU from a child or grandchild to help with any technological problems (reprogramming the coffee maker, “fixing” the computer etc.) may be welcomed.
The personal touch highlights thought and caring–gifts in and of themselves. How can they not contribute to helping parents–in this case dads and granddads– age well!
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*The first celebration was in Spokane, Washington on June 20th 1910. A daughter, one of six children raised by their widower father, William Jackson Smart, suggested a celebration of father’s and is credited with the idea for Father’s Day.
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