From my memory
He puts on his glasses. He recognizes a familiar handwriting jumping from his Father’s Day card. What I give him must be handwritten- no preprinted text. He reads it slowly savoring every word, stretching the time, creating an event. making it all more ceremonial. Then still ever so slowly he unwraps the gift and it is his favorite home baked cookies. They smell good. The corners of his lips are already lifting but he tries not to smile yet. Then there is a big thank you hug. Oh, there is also another gift and it looks expensive. Now he touches his chin in hesitation. He will look at it later. This moment is not going to last forever so he wants to drink every drop of the time together to the very bottom. This is how I remember Father’s Days with my dad. He started to like gifts only when I was about thirty. I guess he thought that it was an okay age for me to give a little back. Makes sense. I wish I could have one more Father’s Day with him.
Fathers. Want. Nothing?
When I asked my men friends what they wanted For Father’s Day, most of them said that they wanted NOTHING. Umm, this is hard. I sense that this answer is tied to a much deeper need for genuine love and appreciation beyond material things. But it is still a cultural stereotype that Father’s Day is after Mother’s Day and not just by the calendar. So he does not want to unwrap whatever it is just because his kids “have to give daddy a gift.” He’d rather spend some fun time together or be left alone after a good home-made meal with the family.
A part of the difference is that men are not used to as much attention as women. They are naturally more private about their feelings. Historically they are brainwashed that their main function in the family is to provide. Even now when their wives are often bringing some serious money either by working for a Man or being lady bosses it is surprising to me that Father’s Day is still subdued in comparison with Mother’s Day. According to Census Data the amount spent on Father’s Day is $12,7 billion compared with $21 billion on Mother’s Day. About 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are bought for husbands. Meanwhile, more than 214,000 men are stay-at-home dads and 2 million fathers are single.
Fathers’ reluctance to receive a present from the kids (and young moms ) is something that smart marketers picked up right away.
So, who is buying the ASP Gift Card? A dad for the kid’s graduation? Probably.
Now they lumped up “Dads and Grads” pitching One Gift Fits All. Really? If you don’t believe me look around and you will find a gazillion ads and social media content that use dad’s unwillingness to be in the center of attention. Let him just pay again, even on his holiday.
Clearly, a Grad cannot afford the tickets for this event. I can picture a dad who is swiping his credit card for the tickets. Well, it’s a graduation gift. Or not? So, you see what I mean? Marketers understand human behavior much faster than we think. If a dad does not want a present for his big day, we’ll make him pay anyway. Amiright?
This definitely fits all. Well, except for mom. I guess she’ll stay home while the boys are “bonding.” And guess who’ll pay for this thing?
Or this one:
The list in The Street describes some cool gadgets for grads, mostly. So, before overly enthusiastic media starts promoting an interchangeable pair of Nikis, let’s show our fathers that it is perfectly fine to accept all the gift giving and make it PERSONAL.
Little recognized facts
On a more serious note, it’s about time to recognize fathers’ role as equally important. Perhaps, when we have more television shows about fatherhood, more stories about it, more discussions on the subject- then dads will be more inspired to be equally involved with kids. It is a proven scientific fact that from birth, children who have an involved father are happier, smarter, more confident and make incomparably better connections as they grow up. Boys whose fathers are confident become outgoing teenagers. Girls develop a positive image of men. Both, boys and girls with nurturing dads are doing better in school and are more successful in life.
But for now give your dad what he wants the most- attention. Or, if you are a mom and kids are too little, just get him something that both of you will smile about. Young dads often think that gift-giving is comical because it comes from their wives. So go with the flow. Get him something like, “Happy Father’s Day. Mom picked the card.”
Here are some other cute creations with a wonderful heartfelt simplicity to them.
But for now try to pay attention to what your dad would like to receive from you on Father’s Day. I am sure that deep in your heart you do know.
P.S. Did I say that there are some dads that still love things and gadgets? If you father is one of them, check out SHOP to see if he would like anything.
Please post your questions here below. I’ll be happy to help you!