To our fathers on Father’s Day, you are much more than the provider of ‘Dad Jokes’

Happy Father’s Day to the masculine influencers in our lives, that love us, guide us and lead us. A poem titled: If I were your father

For some reason this year I have been noticing that ‘Dad Jokes’ have been the hot topic in terms of celebrating Father’s Day. It seems that dads have been forever relegated to be the goofy ones in this world as if our sacred mothers are the only ones who could provide any sincerity, wisdom or guidance.

Though the sacred mothers in this world hold an incredibly important presence, the Creator made room for fathers to be providers, protectors, and guides too.

In my view, my dad never really told a lot of Dad Jokes, because to me the man was outright hilarious. He is the one who gave me my sense of humor. And people have told me I can be pretty funny as well as sarcastic.

As far as fathers go, I was lucky. My father, Ray Schilling, worked every day of his adult life from the time he had me with my mother at age 19. They didn’t stay together long, but he remarried a few years later to my stepmom who had a daughter.

My birth mother was Mohawk, and my father’s own heritage is not all certain. We grew up on Compton Blvd, just off of Crenshaw in California. I soon took after my father and got a paper route at age 12, getting up at 5 am on Saturday mornings. I don’t think I haven’t had a job since, even working at a fast food place when I was in high school. I was terrible at it.

But my father taught me values I will never forget. It is Sunday morning at 8 am and I am writing in hopes that someone might be inspired in some way by the fact I am putting effort and energy into this world.

To the fathers out there, you are appreciated.

As I said, I was lucky, I have friends and loved ones share with me that their fathers were not contributors to this world, but takers, or they were abusive in many ways or were not present at all.

I am also not a father in a literal sense as my beautiful wife Delores and I are not able to have children. But my wife Delores is still a mother, and due to the blessings of what many people have told me, I am a father.

Check out a previous article I wrote and posted in my #NativeNerd column: 10 awesome life advice tips my father gave me 

I have been fortunate to meet with many younger generations of champion young people that have asked advice, or that I might have taken time to help in any way I could. My wife and I have received countless late night phone calls from frantic sons or daughters who needed to hear my wife and my voice or perhaps guidance to help them out of a precarious situation. I also am a father to my nephew Parker, well, my son, who I would hope, listened when I told him he is amazing, that he is worth it, and that he is talented. I am hopeful I might have guided him to graduate a year early from school so that he can pursue his music. Which he has done. I am a proud father.

To those of you who may not have fathers on this Father’s Day for whatever reason. I send you love, blessings, and prayers if you might feel pain in any way. As a father, it is my desire to protect any of you from pain of any kind.

To all children of fathers, blessings to you on this day and may you find happiness based upon the guidance you were given in this world to succeed.

I hope you all have a great Father’s Day.

I will leave you with this poem as an honor to all of the father’s out there, or to the children of fathers.

Dad
An old photo of my father, Raymond Schilling with his Grandfather. (Circa 1947)

If I were your father
By Vincent Schilling

If I were your father
I would remember with every fiber of my being the day you came into this world
I would remember blessing the day as one of the best of my life
As I looked at you as a baby, filled with promise and possibility

If I were your father
I would recall the day you took your first steps, as I clapped and shouted with joy
Looking at this young child, who laughed and clapped along with me
As I swept you into my arms and holding you as tight as I could … but gently too

If I were your father
I would remember my tears mixed with pride as I let go of your hand
On the first day of school, as I watched you cry and had to say goodbye
But also sad, that toys soon got your attention and you looked away, if but for a moment

If I were your father
I would appear angry (but maybe smile a little inside) as I had to come to school
Because you got into a fight over something childish, but was important to you
Those young days in school are incredibly important, trust me I remember

If I were your father
I would be happy but horrified that you were going on a date to the movies
One secret is that I would never really approve, and yes, of course, I let you go
You are a treasure in this world, I just wanted to protect you

If I were your father
I would be proud but frightened when you got your driver’s license
No matter how much I ever explained, you will never understand
You are in control of a ton of metal, with an engine. Please be safe

If I were your father
I would be proud, so so proud when you completed your education.
You did it your way, you made it
I am beaming when I think of it

If I were your father
I would tell you from the beginning, it doesn’t matter whom you love
As long as they love you, and treat you well, I am happy
I couldn’t agree more that love is love. Hopefully, I will be a father figure to them too

If I were your father
I would reassure you, that whatever you choose to do, is wonderful
You are a light in this world
And I love you

If I were your father
I would give you this advice
Make sure to love others
Make sure to give back
Hold the door for elders
Ask people if you can pet their dog
Take the time to look at nature, listen to the birds
Stay up past your bedtime
Sing karaoke even if you don’t know the song
Tell a stranger to have a nice day
Be an honorable person, even if others might not be
Recognize that other people struggle, and if they are mean
They are just afraid to fail

If I were your father
I would say to always remember to do the following:
Smile
Laugh
Dance, even it is in your mind
If you ever fall, just get back up and keep going

And if I were your father
I would tell you this:
You are a wondrous, amazing, beautiful force in this world
Your contribution matters so much
Don’t sit and think about the things you haven’t done with regret
Think about the things you still can do with excitement

Most of all my dear, dear child
I love you more than I could ever explain
I am so proud that you have made it this far
You are a success
You have done such amazing things
And I love you, my gosh I love you kiddo, so so very very much

You are the best gift, a father could ever, ever have

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

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