The difference between being a father and a dad

Sandy Turner
Down Home

Dad didn’t come to any of my tea parties, and he never tied ribbons in my hair. It took him losing his mind for me to change mine.

Most of the time I went out of my way to avoid being around him – mostly because he'd speak the truth – and I wasn’t ready to hear it, much less face it. If someone had told me 45 years ago, when I was a teenager, the day would come I'd be wishing for just one more lecture from him, I wouldn't have believed a word of it.

Sandy Turner

I admire the "real" men who step in after the guy who “fathered” the children remove themselves from their kids’ lives as quickly as they came in. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all down and out on the dads of today's society, especially since I have the privilege to see first-hand the caring and doting dads who are raising my grandchildren.

My "four sons" may not always do what I want them to do and they may whine when they have to come to family functions, but it doesn't matter, because they are doing the dad thing with more passion, love and patience than I could ever ask for.

Today’s society is producing fathers who know no boundaries when it comes to being a dad.

A dad’s role isn't confined to just being the disciplinarian and the provider. The sons know all about playing with nerf guns or baby dolls and can fix a boo-boo just as well as mom can. They not only want to help take care of their children, they insist on it.

I wholeheartedly applaud young couples who now share all the responsibilities of raising their children. From this daily interaction with their dads, daughters learn how to have healthy relationships with their future husbands and sons will grow up to be role models for their children.

I feel so fortunate I never have to worry about my grandchildren's well-being, both physically and mentally. I just hope, when the grandkids are old enough, they realize what a gift their fathers are, being the dads they are supposed to be. I believe this generation of young couples are finally getting things turned around and are embracing the values of being a family.

I try not to be too mushy with the sons, mostly because they already think I'm weird, so I try to keep the lovey-dovey stuff for the grandkids, but I hope they know how great I think they are. In my eyes, they are the real superheroes. They all lead busy lives, but functioning as a family is their top priority, and I admire them for wanting and accepting their role as the father of their children, but mostly because they love being a dad.

I have a week to plan for a Father’s Day family function as a way to say thank you, even though having my “boys” here is really a gift for me.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at