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Fathers are always important in a child's life

June 13, 2008|By LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

"Daddy's home! Daddy's home!"

Patter, patter, patter, patter, LEAP.

That's the standard greeting awarded to my husband when he arrives home from work after we get home from school.

Our daughter loves to run to the door and fly into his arms.

They both end up smiling and laughing after that welcome.

Watching them is good therapy after a hard day's work. I'm so thankful for the man I married and other fathers who are like him.

If they knew how much they are loved just for being where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there, they'd be surprised.

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My daughter adores her daddy because she knows she can count on him.

The other night he thanked me for making dinner, though I do that most evenings. (Even so, isn't it nice to be appreciated?) Then I thanked him for coming home, even though he does that every night.

He laughed. He thought that was a strange thing to say.

I keep telling him that it doesn't take much to make me happy. The older we get, the more he believes me.

Just last week I pointed out that the curtains in our bedroom are ones that I bought our first year of marriage, almost 18 years ago. I still like them because they remind me of the relationship we have built over time.

Most children appreciate their fathers in a similar way. They don't need a dad who makes a lot of money, is super smart, is an eloquent speaker or a great athlete.

Children appreciate their fathers because of the memories they've made together.

Children need fathers who patiently listen, explain, instruct and correct them. In order to do that, fathers need to provide one thing to their children.

Time.

The more I work with children, the more I see how important it is for them to have time with their parents, especially their fathers or a father figure.

It's not what Dad does or buys or pretends to be that makes a difference. What matters is that Dad is present, involved in the lives of his children.

I asked my daughter what she thinks is the best thing about Father's Day, which is this Sunday, June 15.

She didn't hesitate when responding, "That it's so wonderful to have a father."

I know most little girls go through this apple-of-Daddy's-eye phase and that it won't last forever. At 9, she thinks her daddy is the best father in the world. He is the best in her eyes not because of what he does but because of who he is.

Isn't it wonderful how children overlook the flaws of their parents? They might get upset with us about something, but they easily forgive us and never cease to crave our attention, affirmation and affection.

Giving those gifts to a child is the best way to celebrate Father's Day.

While the roots of Father's Day can be traced to the early 1900s, it is a relatively recent concept. In 1966, President Johnson selected the third Sunday of June for the holiday. It was not officially recognized until 1972, when I was just a tad younger than my daughter. I remember making Father's Day cards and greeting my dad with a flying leap, too. It's been said that girls are attracted to guys that remind them of their dads. It's true. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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