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Gardening For Wildlife, Dads
June 14, 2007

There is a saying that goes something like this.

"Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad."

There is a lot of truth to that statement.

I used to think that parenting was instinctive.

Look at the changes that take place with a woman during pregnancy and after.

How she loves and cuddles her new child and so much more.

This has got to be a piece of cake!

Flip a switch and instant papa.


Talk about learning some things on the fly.

Now I know that not all people are fit to be parents.

It's the same in the animal world too.

Unfortunately, there are more women as single parents having to play the role of mom and dad (some men too).

Dad can also be grandpa, an older brother, or maybe an uncle.

A mentor, sister, or mom.

A dad can be anyone that played a role as a father figure in your life.

Mom told me once that my dad loved babies.

Well, some where along the line that changed with him or so it seemed.

We became workers and at times as if we were subjects at his command.

You know, "Tote that barge and lift that bale".

With 8 kids to feed and clothe, my dad did seem to go off to work an awful lot.

Mom was the main figure in raising us.

She was mom and dad most of the time.

Dad was rarely home to watch his kids play ball or go to school functions.

That was mom's job.

Growing up in the late 1950's, 60's and early 70's, there weren't many single parent homes.

At least not in rural Michigan where we were.

Moms rarely left the house to go to work.

They were always home to tend to things.

Farmers wives did work on the farm and mom's did work in the family garden, but moms were always there.

Boy have times changed huh?

As I became a young adult, I saw my dad was trying to teach his boys a work ethic.

It was that way with all my friends as well.

I never saw a dad playing catch or taking his kids fishing, but they would work side by side.

That was important to men of his generation.

Yep, men didn't cry, men worked and did what needed to be done to provide.

Teach their sons to be tough.

Don't cry and don't give the other guy an edge.

Never show a weakness.

Daughters, look for a strong man like this.

With 6 brothers and a few neighbor kids, there was never a lack of male companionship.

Still, something was missing.

In my late teen years (early adulthood), I began to notice something.

I would get jealous when I would see younger kids outside playing with there dad.


Have things changed or what?

Dad didn't play with us,

Dad didn't talk to us about the facts of life.

Dad was trying to show a work ethic and preached the importance of math.

"You need to work and you will always use math in your life"

Dad taught and showed us only what he seemed to know or was taught by his parents.

Times did change.

As a young parent, I made sure that I would take some time out for the kids.

I was at school functions with Karen.

You know,

Parent teacher conferences, school plays and such.

We made sure we had time to listen to them.

I coached our son's little league for a couple of years.

And of course, "Play Time".

I think play time was just as important to me and maybe more fun at times.

Karen and I tried to encourage the kids.

We made sure they knew we would support them 100%.

Did it work?

In some cases yes.

In other ways no, or it took some years for it to sink in.

Now that sounds familiar doesn't it?

Kids that know more than parents do.

I wish we were perfect parents, but there is only one of those.

The good book lays out a guide line on parenting, so many of us miss that one.

It's a huge responsibility to be a dad and a parent.

Eric a reader in Chicago is finding that out with his baby son Peyton.

Learn as you grow.

Mistakes are plenty but learn from our mistakes.

I knew my dad loved me, but I wished he would've been there more.

It took time to realize, I was blessed.

While dad was teaching a work ethic. I developed a love and passion for gardening.

I enjoyed my time planting and a garden with dad.

Pulling weeds wasn't so bad as long as I was with him.

It was the assigned work that was a drag.

Still for me it would get done.

Work ethic.

When I was 12 and impaled in a sledding accident, my dad was the first one there ( he loved me).

At 14 years dumb, I was changing a flat tire on his pickup truck.

The jack slipped and down came the truck on my hand

My hand stuck between the truck and the tire.

Screaming bloody murder, my pops was there to lift the truck up enough so I could get my hand out.

Yeah, dad was okay :-)

Stuff any parent would do........

Maybe, but this was my dad!

My dad went to be with his Lord when I was only 31 (prostate cancer)

In his death, he taught me to get my yearly check ups and I have since I was 40 years old.

In the last few years of dad being with us,

We began to talk more and share.

We became friends.

Even later in life, we can still learn.

We learn to become better people if we chose.

We can become more loving and understanding.

We can still be a parent and always be dad.

Parents never stop being parents and I miss my parents every day.

Moms are special and will always be mom.

Dads, we are special in our own way and sometimes we must play a dual role as well.

When your child can call you a friend as well as dad,.........

You know you've succeeded.

Life isn't easy and isn't getting any easier.

We want our kids to have it better than we had it.

Is that a good thing though?

I had a wonderful childhood, the only thing I would change in it would be more time with my dad.

Some fun and play time with my dad.

Dad did succeed in teaching his kids a work ethic (something lacking in many today).

He did show me a love for gardening and later he shared my passion for birds and wildlife.

Yes, I was the teacher to him.

I am still learning many things on being a man and a dad.

We are still learning as we go through life.

Men, we have choices we make everyday.

We can chose to be the best husband and or father we can possibly be.

That means telling loved ones you love them everyday.

Being there for them, if possible.

Encouraging and showing support.

Play time

Chastising when needed, but explain why and how comes.

Love them and forget it.

It starts with you dad.

Parenting doesn't stop when a child becomes 18, we are dads until the end.

This may sound more about my dad and me, but there is an underlying story if you caught it.

What an honor it would be to hear these words.

"Dad, when I grow up, I want to be just like you."

"Daddy, when I get married, I want my husband to be just like you."


Dads, grandpas, moms and whomever is a dad.................


May our HEVANLY FATHER greatly bless you.

Have a wonderful weekend <>.

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson
Gardening For Wildlife.

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