By Glenn Mollette, Washington, D.C.
What can we as father's do with our remaining years?
We can't turn back the clock. Any and all missed opportunities cannot be reclaimed.
Some father's live with regrets while others know they did the best they could.
I don't know of too many dads who deeply feel like they have been perfect. In our younger adult and middle age years we had a lot on our plates. We were trying to make it in our jobs and keep food in the house and a roof over our heads. Most of the time we were juggling long hours. Most of us tried to do the best we could.
The best you can do with your remaining years is to love your children and grandchildren and others. Call them on the telephone and visit them every chance you have. Engage in personal conversations. Talk to them about their lives and what they are doing. Give advice but don't overdo it. Try to remember how well you listened to advice when you were 30 years old.
Help your family as you can but if you do it all the time you will cripple them. What are your children going to do when you are gone? They have to make it financially and emotionally. Birds must learn to fly on their own and so do our children. Most anyone can go through a lot of money in a year or two if they don't know how to budget and live thrifty.
Find opportunities to engage with family as you can. Sometimes a day trip in a car with the radio off provides a lot of casual opportunities to talk about old times and new times. Casually let your children in on things you have learned in your life. They might remember them later down the road. Ask them to tell you what they have learned and you will probably discover your child is going through some of the same stuff you did at his or her age.
As a father, keep it balanced. How many years do you have left? I see old dads who spend every day with their children and grandchildren and maybe this is what you want. Personally, I don't think it's healthy for anybody. Husbands and wives need to stay emotionally connected and this means taking time to go out of town by themselves. Whether it's vacation, hobbies or simply maintaining an independent life. I've seen too many dads move in with a child and then soon the child was controlling dad's checkbook and telling dad how to spend his money. The next move of course is "finding a home for dad," which means assisted living or a nursing home.
Keep your independence. Keep driving. Do daily activities to keep strong. Eat healthy as possible. See good doctors and stay away from the bad ones.
Finally, be a good, happy, loving and independent father. That is probably the best gift you can give your children this Father's Day.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His syndicated column is read in all 50 states.