Monday, Jul 28, 2014
Columns

Belated Father's Day wishes


Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 04:20 PM

I neglected to wish a happy Father's Day to the readers of Hernando Today; for that oversight I humbly apologize.

For the fathers serving our country in far-away places risking life and limb, I salute you. For the fathers who stand guard at home to serve and protect us from the daily evils that surround us I applaud you.

With its roots in American history dating back to the early 1900s, it took decades for "Father's Day" to make it to the list of national holidays. That was accomplished in 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed the bill officially establishing the day as a national holiday.

In this irreverent era, fathers have been brutalized and ridiculed in so many inane TV programs. While the father image is constantly being diminished by some, there are others among us who truly understand the spirit behind the honoring of fathers.

For my part, my father was an inspiration of a depression era child who was, as the eldest son, forced to leave school before graduating high school to help support his family. While many scoff at the "daddy" stories of work and deprivation and walking in the snow to school and shining shoes and picking up pieces of coal in the freight yards, character building was the eventual result of these actions.

Taking courses at the American Institute of Banking enabled a bank messenger boy to become a vice president of a large metropolitan bank. He was respected by his peers and loved by his family who was always first in his thoughts. That character building was a process that we children gained by osmosis, as we were exposed to it daily.

It was also accompanied by a prodding to always do our best no matter what the task, and above all, to get an education to hone our natural skills. Every report card was reviewed and signed by "Dad" from first grade to 12th in high school. Even if the grades were less than outstanding, the question was, did you do your best?

Today, unfortunately, there is not enough parental guidance offered to our youngsters, with the dismal results that we observe. High dropout rates, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy are but a few of them. And it is harder today, because of all the extraneous forces that are vying for the attention of our young.

It therefore requires us to work doubly hard in our efforts to teach and nurture our youth. Life was never easy and for some it is downright horrible, but that doesn't mean we surrender — we just keep on trucking and sending the message of … do your best at all times.


Len Tria, a regular columnist for Hernando Today, lives in Spring Hill and is a former Hernando County commissioner.

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