An Ode to He Who Brought You Into This World… (And May Have Threatened to Take You Out)

By: Ted Crawford, LMFT, Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services

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There is a tiny window of time during summer in which one particular caregiver is celebrated. This individual could be referred to as the paternal unit in a procreating duo or the sole contributor of the Y chromosome. Less clinical titles are Lead Council in the Lawn Maintenance and Unfinished Project Departments and Chef Creator of Pizza Rolls and Fudgsicles Three nights in a Row While Mom’s Visiting Your Aunt Jenny Meal Plan. But most of us just call him “Dad.” Now, when I say he’s celebrated, I use the term loosely, because, let’s be honest; giving him a burnt-on-one-side burger and a bad necktie is hardly a festival of honor. And look how television portrays him even on his special day. You’re going to see Homer Simpson and similar moronic Dad characters on every sitcom. And the commercials… I mean, is there some hard rule that the father in any commercial must be a complete doofus? Dads provide the valuable life lessons that command respect, for goodness sake! Who else can you depend on to show you how to drive all the way across town to save four cents a gallon on gas and still call it, “Highway robbery”? Who’s going to belittle you into learning how to parallel park? And most importantly, who’s going to be your personal resource for unsolicited political wisdumb? Nuff said!

Honestly, though, many dads obviously think most of this stereotyping is funny as evidenced by the fact that they often join in on it, knowing that they bring so much of it on themselves anyway, (I might be one of these). On a more serious note, let’s call out the elephant in the room. Fathers are not perfect. Many are carrying painful wounds that result in their lashing out with physical or emotional abuse, and some are emotionally unavailable if not physically absent altogether. Please keep the children and adults who have experienced these fathers in your thoughts this Sunday and maybe reach out to the ones you know about. Most fathers fall firmly in the middle between raging sociopath and saintly hero. If your father is still among the living and has earned your respect and appreciation in any way, please let him know. Those two sentiments expressed in word or deed are the purest form of love to a Dad. So much more meaningful than that “Director of Duct-tape Innovation” t-shirt you ordered.

In closing, no Father’s Day article would be complete without passing down some wise council, so I’ll share one of the best pieces of advice my father ever gave me. One day, he called me into the kitchen, looked me in the eye and said, “Son, always knock on the fridge door before opening it, just in case there’s a salad dressing.”


About Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services:

Located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services is one of the nation’s most comprehensive treatment campuses. Pine Grove’s world-renowned programs treat gender-specific substance abuse including specialized tracks for co-occurring eating disorders and trauma. Additionally, Pine Grove offers an Intensive Outpatient substance abuse healing program for adults and a separate treatment track specifically for those who are age 55 plus. Other Pine Grove specialty programs include a dedicated professional’s treatment curriculum and a comprehensive evaluation center. Pine Grove also features a program for patients with sexual addiction. Inpatient Services including an Adult Psychiatric Unit, along with a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, and Outpatient Services are other components. Pine Grove is a division of Forrest Health, a partnership of healthcare organizations across South Mississippi, and the behavioral healthcare extension of Forrest General Hospital, a 547-bed, level II Regional Trauma Center. Established in 1984, Pine Grove has provided nationally and internationally recognized health care for 38 years. For more information, please visit and call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673).