This Sunday is Father’s Day, but instead of worrying if you should get your father a tie or a packet of coupons for free hugs redeemable always, have a look at this collection of essays and articles that were written by, for, and about dads.
In the New York Times’ Opinioinator blog, Nicole Bokat writes about the intense grief she endured after her father’s death. She describes her history of therapy and worrying, and how as she grew up, her father was the “pill” that made those worries disappear. When he was gone, she tried using medications and procedures to fill his place.
In an NPR excerpt from 2008, you can read Mark Vonnegut’s introduction to Armageddon in Retrospect, by his father, Kurt Vonnegut. He recalls his father on writing, depression, overseas wars, and laughing—“Kurt would often laugh so hard at his own jokes that he would end up bent in half, looking up with his head in his lap,” he writes. “If it started a coughing fit, it could get a little scary.”
In the Atlantic, Michael Anthony Adams tells the tale of his absent father, whom he only really saw at a DNA testing site when he was a freshman in high school. But, what his father didn’t teach him—how to tie a tie, how to change a tire, etc.—he learned from YouTube.
First published in the Saturday Evening Post (now available on Project Gutenberg), George Horace Lorimer wrote this letter as a fictional father, John Graham, giving his son the wisest age-old advice as he set off for Harvard in the late 1800s. Graham wants his son, Pierrepont, to take advantage of his education:
You’ll find that education’s about the only thing lying around loose in this world, and that it’s about the only thing a fellow can have as much of as he’s willing to haul away. Everything else is screwed down tight and the screw-driver lost.
But, Graham also wants him to acknowledge the other side of going to college, which is gaining character from real experiences.
That’s the really important part. For the first can only make you a scholar, while the second can make you a man.
The letter is signed, “your affectionate father.”
For more, check out Tablet’s archive of Father’s Day stories.