Family time best present for Father’s Day

Freedom New Mexico

Not that long ago, fathers led more simple, focused lives. They got up, had some coffee while reading the morning paper, went to work and came home when the job was done. Then it was dinner, maybe a question about whether all the homework was done, the 10 p.m. news on TV and off to bed.

That is a generalization, but it held fairly true until the early 1980s.

Now, according to a study by the Center for American Progress, “70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.

Nearly one in four Americans — more every year — are caring for elders.”

Parents’ time is consumed more by increasing workloads and other responsibilities, not to mention the ever-present household duties such as laundry and lawn mowing.

Also today, it is easy to lose time with spiraling, time-sink distractions: An email link from a friend takes you to an amusing story, which includes a video, which contains a bumper ad for the latest version of Angry Birds, which you then download and the next thing you know, two hours have slipped past you.

We are lured by hundreds of television channels and online content sources. Electronic gadgetry allows us to read a book, chat in real time with friends around the world and search for a recipe for a great marinade — all at the same time.

And through all of the growing work responsibilities, the household chores, the time-sinks and the socializing, the one core duty that seems to get pushed to the sidelines is parenting. With parents absent either physically (due to work) or mentally (due to distractions), many of our youth are left to raise themselves, with role models coming from TV or friends who also have been left to fend for themselves.

So on this Father’s Day, we take time to remind Dad of the incredible power he can wield for his children by simply spending time with them, by raising and praising them, by helping them focus on what is important.

Diana Loomins, a senior moderator for the http://parenting.com website, posted “12 Things Children Want Their Parents to Know.” The list includes simple things such as “take joy in my very existence,” “teach me to be disciplined” and “laugh and have fun with me.”

This shows that kids want their fathers’ presence more than presents.

William Shakespeare said, “It is a wise father that knows his own child.”

We encourage fathers to make this day not about the packages they will receive, but about the true gifts in their lives — their children, who thirst for their guidance and love.

Happy Father’s Day.