|An eight-year-old photo of father and sons. Ralph Boas flanked by Toby (left) and Tim Boas|
With Father ’s Day less than a week away, dad-centered gift promotions are coming on strong. Peruse the pages of any periodical or newsprint and you’ll see ads for everything from casual clothing and camping gear to grilling accessories, techno-gadgets and sports paraphernalia. Advertisers are doing their best to convince us that the latest ‘This’ or hottest ‘That’ is the perfect way to tell Dad he’s special.
In our family, Dad (better known as "Papa") is a marketer’s nightmare. On a scale of 1 to 10, his desire for store-bought gifts registers around minus 15. Madonna may have sung about Material Girl but my husband is the proverbial Non-Material Man.
That said, there is one gift my dear husband would like. So kids (we have four), if you’re reading this, pay attention. The one present Papa wants for Father’s Day is this: One Easy Day.
One Easy Day is a day without problems to solve. It’s a day without drama, trauma or strife. It’s 24 straight hours without anything breaking or going awry. The computer doesn’t malfunction, water pipes don’t leak and caterpillars are considerate enough to leave the tomato leaves alone.
On his One Easy Day your father is free to do whatever he likes without interrupting phone calls, distracting texts or attention-diverting emails. He can busy himself in the garden, go for a swim, take a long walk and bounce on the trampoline. He can exercise to his heart’s content or take a nap if he’s tired. Instead of being social worker, counselor, judge or jury, he can just be himself doing the things he likes best.
One Easy Day isn’t about ignoring the people he loves. It’s about enjoying his family. It’s a day of harmony, happiness and feelings of gratitude. Although his problem solving skills are beyond compare, on this one day of the year my husband (your dad) would like to give those skills a rest.
When our children were little, presents weren’t necessary. Sweet hugs and kisses were gift enough to prove their love. As children grow older, they sometimes forget that the best gifts to give are the simplest pleasures. A kind word (or two or three…), a gentle touch, an expression of appreciation means much more than anything bought.
One Easy Day is too special to be reserved for fathers only. There are times when each of us needs a day when nothing goes wrong. As good as we might all be at figuratively putting out fires, there something to be said for spending a few well-deserved hours in a flame-free zone.
On June 16th, when dads around the country are unwrapping boxes filled with flashlights, fancy phones and brand new socks, I’m going to give my husband a massage. I plan to turn the cell phone off, put the computer to sleep and hope-hope-hope that nothing in the house or property demands his attention.
And kids - if you’re listening – on Father’s Day, please do your best to give Papa a rest. On June 17th I promise he’ll be back into full fledged fix-it mode, happy to answer your banking questions, offer advice about medical issues and listen to your relationship problems with every ounce of his usual patience.
But just for this one special day, let’s agree to surround him with peace. One Easy Day…wouldn’t it be nice.