“Shake it off,” was a phrase I heard quite a bit from my dad growing up. It usually followed a minor sports-related injury or mishap. It was his attempt to get me to stand up and get back in the game, in the pool, or out on the field. Whether it was basketball, swimming, softball, or any backyard match; my dad was always there, playing, coaching, cheering and encouraging me to keep trying my best in the face of adversity.
I had a father who was not just a presence around the house, but extremely involved in my life. Not only did he support my participation in sports, he also volunteered for things at school, like science fair judging, fund-raisers, and chaperoning. He was active in my church; always offering assistance to those less fortunate, always fixing things, always ready to lend a hand to friends and neighbors. Looking back at all that he did for me and for others, it is hard to imagine a better example of a loving, caring and engaged father.
As a child, I admit, I took my father’s presence for granted. He was always there for me. And to fully understand just how special he was, you would have to multiply his dedication times seven. I am the second oldest of eight children. Somehow, in someway, he was able to spread his time and attention to me and my seven other siblings.
Today, I often wonder what it would be like to not have a father around. From time to time I meet people who were not blessed with a strong father figure involved in their childhood. I am touched by their stories, and impressed by challenges they overcame because of an absent or unengaged father. Mostly, I realize that I am one of the lucky ones, and am inspired to do something for the children who are less fortunate.
That’s where PTA’s Million Hours of Power comes into play. Supporting an effort to encourage all fathers to spend more time with their children is one thing I can do to help. Every child deserves a strong male role model to take them to school, to games, to church, to the doctor. Every child needs a father around to pick them up and hug them when they fall and say ‘shake it off.’ That’s what my father did, and that’s why I now, I can pick myself back up when I fall, and keep going when I am down.
Everyone please support PTA’s Million Hours of Power by voting for the Pepsi Refresh grant every day in October by going to www.refresheverything.com/millionhoursofpower. And men everywhere, please let us know how you spent time with your kids by completing our Million Hours of Power survey.
Post contributed by Anne Wald- Director, Membership & Field Operations for National PTA. She is from Falls Church, Virginia and now live in Annandale, Virginia with her husband and three children. She is also step mom of two. Anne enjoys spending time with her children, going to their various activities and school events.