What Father’s Day means to me

Paul Buttermore is proud of being Christian’s father.

It’s difficult to describe what fatherhood means to me. Being a father is more of a feeling. It’s a mixture of overwhelming happiness and pride. How you feel when your child achieves a goal or the pain you feel when they are hurting. You are a part of their journey. I want to protect and keep them safe — even in adulthood. As fathers, we have a responsibility to ensure our kids are healthy, happy and positive contributors to society. When I see my children experiencing these things, there is a sense of accomplishment and happiness. I always try to support their decisions and choices, regardless if I agree with them. I believe it’s important to let them to fail while we’re still there to catch them when they fall. Fatherhood is a privilege.

Fathers are important. We are fixers and protectors. We fill an important role in the development of our children. Rough-and-tumble play comes with this. I always liked to take my kiddos out for bike rides and coach them in sports. I challenged and taught them to enjoy life and not be complacent. To experience life and treat people how they want to be treated. I love and am proud of my kids.

The great thing about being a dad is that there is always a funny story. When I talk to other dads, I tell them to embrace every moment with their kids. They grow up so fast!

Fathers, be there for your kids’ award ceremonies and field trips. Get to know their friends and coach their teams. Just be with them and for them. I believe it’s difficult to raise kids today. As a society, we have a lot of distractions that can have a negative impact on quality family time. Lead by example. We are role models for our children. They will model your behaviors whether you want them to or not. The choices we make in our lives directly affect our kids in their lives. Part of being a parent is making mistakes and learning from them. As I have become more experienced as a father, I have learned that it is better to help my kids find their own solutions instead of telling them how to fix something.

As a new father, you think you know what you are going to do and how you will handle most situations. And then you get into the situation and realize you have no clue. That’s the best part — learning on the fly. The highs and the lows are a part of the journey. As a new dad, I didn’t realize how much I would change, and how much I would learn from my kids. The role has taught me unconditional love and the importance of helping others. My kids continue to teach me about myself every day.

As we approach the actual day of Father’s Day, the day doesn’t mean much to me. I relish in the role of being a dad — every day. I enjoy having all of my kids together, whether it’s on Father’s Day or any day.

I have been a father for 28 years and I could not imagine my life without that role. Being a father means everything to me and has been my greatest source of achievement and pride. Celebrating in my children’s accomplishments and being with them on their journey is priceless.

Paul Buttermore is a Glendale resident and program director for Southwest Behavioral and Health Services.