Kermit, the frog, famously said: “It’s not easy being green.”
Fathers know that feeling, if not the color. It’s not easy being “Dad.”
My donkey, Merton, knows that truth. Merton is a truly mellow fellow . . . and gets no respect from his son, Wendell, who bellicosely dominates the herd AND Merton. I tell Merton it’s because Mert allowed Wendell to ‘win’ all those early ‘wrestling’ scuffles. Merton never put the youngster in his place. So, without boundaries, Wendell feels 1st Place is his. Five years later Merton is my ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ donkey: “No respect! No respect!”
It’s not easy being Dad. If you’re too tough, you crush the spirit of the young. Too soft, and they suffer delusions of grandeur. Enabling a healthy balance is no easy job.
The great test for every Father is discernment. Fathers need not only sight, but insight. We need to know what situations call for and we need the judgment to fit our response to precisely what is needed. In the language our Scotties know best, our handicap is what G.K. Chesterton parodied as: “. . . heaven only knowses the noselessness of Man.”
Father ‘Nose’ Best boils down to something like the lyrics made famous by Kenny Rogers:
“you gotta know when to hold ‘em,
know when to fold ‘em,
know when to walk away … and know when to run!”
Trouble is, by the time we acquire sufficient wisdom to read situations discerningly, by the time we have our ‘knows’ on straight, the kids are grown and it’s too late to matter. And Life gets stinky when we misjudge situations!
So, realizing that the Great Dog in the sky didn’t give Persons all their senses, your Scottie’s prayer for the Fathers out there on this Father’s Day is:
May you be full of discernment …
Full of good judgment;
May you know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em …
And may you have fast feet when you need to run!
Joseph Harvill, publisher of Great Scots Magazine