Father Knows Best

Illustration by Anita Jeram from "Guess How Much I Love You."

Illustration by Anita Jeram from “Guess How Much I Love You.”

Father’s Day in the United States is fast approaching. I read a Father’s Day greeting card recently that went like this: Do you know why Father’s Day is in June? Because a few weeks after Mother’s Day someone said “Hey! Wait a minute!”

I’m a classic Daddy’s girl. I still think my dad hung the moon. One of the most memorable things I heard my father say was how his children taught him important life lessons (and not necessarily the other way around). The role of the father in the family has evolved from the archetype “Ward Clever” from Leave It To Beaver. I know a few stay-at-home-dads who totally rock it. I know many classic head-of-household dads who bring home the bacon. I know fathers in dual-income households (this is my dad).

But regardless of the family model, the “great equalizer” across the population is the immeasurable love a parent has for his child. No matter what walk of life a dad is from, the parent/child love bond is universal and unconditional. My favorite children’s picture book of all time which illustrates this concept is Guess How Much I Love You (by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram). The synopsis is easy: Little Nut Brown Hare and his father, Big Nut Brown Hare, compete with each other about who loves whom more.

This book is as simple as it gets–two characters and a whole lotta love. We’ve probably all played a variation of this “guess how much I love you” game as a child, or as a parent, or even with a significant other. Everyone comes out a winner (unless, you live in my household where there is only one definitive champion to this game, usually in the shape of a competitive 7-year-old girl.)

Guess How Much I Love You has always resonated with me, long before I realized I wanted to be a parent. I identified with this book because of how much I love my own father and how he always made me feel loved and supported as a child and as an adult. Now with two daughters of my own, I see the special bond my girls have with their dad. The only difference between my husband and my dad’s parenting style is that my husband will undoubtedly greet potential suitors for his daughters at the door with a shotgun (let this blog post serve as fair warning).

Last year I wrote a letter to to my dad on Father’s Day letting him know just how much I love him–so he didn’t ever have to guess. Because the truth is, he’s taught me a heck of a lot more in life than I taught him. I’m still learning from him and hope to continue learning for many years to come. And I just couldn’t find that sentiment in a greeting card.

So, if you are looking to celebrate your dad on Father’s Day this weekend, or any day for that matter, the children’s picture book, Guess How Much I Love You, is a good place to start.

2 responses

  1. I love that picture book, too, Rowena! Though honestly, my dad was kinda old school–not much on all that “I love you” stuff. But I don’t think I ever really noticed. I guess because I always knew he loved me, just by his being there, day in, day out. Love sticks by you, day in, day out. 😉

    • Thanks for commenting, Cathy! My dad was old school too with the affection, until my siblings and I reached our 30’s. My dad is pretty quiet, but then surpringly gives killer speeches at memorials, weddings, and Thanksgiving dinner. Cry-fest material! Happy Father’s Day weekend 🙂

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