What do dads really want this year?
The Messenger 06.11.08
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Retailers are clamoring for your dollars with ads that promise to provide what dads REALLY want this year for Father’s Day. Tools. Clothes. Technology. Lawn mowers. How are we expected to choose?
Most of us can eliminate some things just from knowing our dads. For example, my dad doesn’t want a men’s facial package at a spa. Regardless of how many times I see that ad for a spa that does men’s facials and body wraps, I can stand confident that it wouldn’t be a good choice for our family. I know my 74-year-old father well enough to know that if someone put a cucumber paste on his face and wrapped his body in moist towelettes, it wouldn’t be “relaxing and enjoyable” for him. It would be even less enjoyable for the people administering the treatment because I’m sure my dad would have plenty to say about it, “Cucumbers? I thought cucumbers were for eating and now you tell me they’re therapeutic. Yeah. What does ‘therapeutic’ really mean anyway? Therapeutic is one of those words people throw around to make you think you’re gonna live longer. Well, I doubt that spreading cucumber on my face is gonna make me live longer. If anything, the stress of trying to get cucumber paste out of an old man’s nose could push a fella back a few years.”
My dad is quite a character. He recently posed this question with a chuckle, “Lisa, have you ever noticed that when you go into a big retail store, the riding lawn mowers are right next to the treadmills? I mean, don’t you think that’s a little odd? Basically, they’re saying, ‘Here, sit down, relax, mow your yard in comfort. Oh, and don’t forget to hop on that treadmill when you get finished because a man your age needs his exercise.’ It’s brilliant marketing and obviously people are falling for it.” But my dad’s not falling for it. He mows his yard with a push mower. He always has. So what do you get a man who mows his yard with a push mower and doesn’t want a cucumber facial? Yeah. That’s the big question.
My husband is a wonderful dad to our two boys. As Father’s Day approaches, I need to consider a gift for him as well. I doubt the cucumber facial would be at the top of his list either. He doesn’t want a tie. He wears ties when people get married or when they die. He doesn’t want stylish clothes that make him look like a college student. He doesn’t want jewelry or cologne or dress shoes. What would be an appropriate gift for a man who is raising our boys with such diligence and care?
I think I’ve got it. I think I’ve come up with the one gift that every man would love this Father’s Day. Respect. I encourage all readers to give the same gift to the men in their lives. Write down positive memories. Thank him for the times he provided help to you during crisis. If you have a good dad, be thankful. Show appreciation. Be respectful. If you had a less than perfect dad, learn to forgive. This Sunday, you might even want to consider the gift of a “second chance.” And to all the men out there: If you have put your personal agenda aside in order to take care of your family, “Thank you. Happy Father’s Day.”
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.