Saturday, June 18, 2016

Celebrating Father's Day

My little girl

My father died while I was in law school.  Clay's father died several years before we met.  Neither of us had the chance to meet the other's father and they never had the chance to meet each other.  Our mothers have met and get along very well, for which Clay and I are very grateful, but we've come to know each other's father only through ourselves, and our family stories.

I recently ran across the International Rescue Committee on Facebook and I've made a contribution to that organization in memory of our fathers.  In a smart and clever marketing/fund raising scheme, they suggest donations in certain amounts and describe what that gift can accomplish in the work of the organization.

My father was a professional mechanical engineer.  He had a knack for building things, fixing things, and doing things.  Engineering is not so much an ability to work with one's hands as it is a mental ability to design a workable solution for a problem using materials at hand.  I like to think that I have a touch of that ability, although I lack most of the practical skills needed.  My father could do most anything, build most anything, fix most anything, and he did.  The "Toolbox for Disaster Recovery" gift seemed very appropriate.  I also like the way they deliver the aid:
"In the weeks after Typhoon Haiyan, we provided vouchers redeemable at local hardware stores where families could purchase tools needed to rebuild their homes."  
This helps re-build the local economy as well, and makes the money go further than buying tools and equipment and shipping it where it's needed.  It's faster too and they would get tools that they are familiar with and know how to use.

Clay's father was an artist, and he held a PhD and was an art professor at various universities throughout his career.  I feel like I've learned a lot about him through his family, his art, and the many stories I've heard about him.  I think we share a similar sense of humor.  Education was very important to him and that certainly shows in the two sons that he raised.  Clay's mother and father had an antique business that they ran in addition to their jobs to fund private school education and post-graduate degrees for both Clay and his brother.  "A Year of School" seemed like an apt gift in his memory.
"When crisis forces families to make difficult decisions about schooling for their children, often it is young girls who are kept at home and denied a chance at a better life. In places like Afghanistan, Congo or Lebanon, including girls in schools is critical: educated girls become smart, strong women committed to leading their communities toward stability."

If you are lucky enough to still have your father in your life, I hope he is one of the good ones.  I realize that some fathers are little more than DNA providers to their offspring.  Clay and I got a whole lot more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My father beat the hell out of my mom and I, and then thankfully he abandoned us. I vowed at an early age to never be like him.

I've been married thirty years now and raised three excellent daughters in a violence free home. This is the family I always wanted.