Bearing a child makes you a mother or father;
Rearing a child makes you a mom or dad,
Understanding a child makes you a good parent.
Deep -- and not so deep -- inside most parents is the hope that they did a good job raising their children. I certainly include myself on that list. And when you get a sign that you have done so, there is no greater gift a parent can receive on Mother's or Father's Day. Here is such a gift that I received several years ago from my eldest daughter. What made it particularly special is that it didn't occur on Father's Day.
Hi Dad,Last night I was walking around Manhattan as I often do with my friends talking about how confused we felt about our futures. And as frequently happens I said, "My dad said..." and as always happens, it made the conversation considerably better. I don't know how many of my friends can say the same about their fathers. I am so lucky to have such a wise dad, even if he does live 3,000 miles away. See you in a few weeks.
I wouldn't sell that note for a million bucks. And no matter how bad a day is, or how rude or annoying people are to me, or how little positive feedback I receive, I know that I matter -- because there's a piece of paper I carry in my wallet that says so.*If you want to let your dad know that he matters, send a similar note to him this Father's Day.
Follow Mark Goulston, M.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markgoulston