There’s one basic thing every child needs

My Americano ristretto didn’t last through the meeting and the last gulps were cold. Across the table, a discouraged dad recounted failure after failure. Finally, I just said, “Where are your kids today?”
He launched into a story of how things had soured, how they all lived in different states and he hadn’t talked to them in years.
“Call them,” I said. He blinked. “Just call them.”
“They don’t want to talk to me,” he said.
“Fathering comes down to one basic thing—showing up. Be a dad regardless of what the kids do. Call them.”
He objected a few more times, and finally we shook hands and walked to our cars. I sat behind the wheel and prayed for courage for him.
A couple of months later I saw him. He hit me on the shoulder. “They talked to me!” he said with a big grin. “My son and I are talking a lot, in fact!”
Man! Being a dad is really about showing up. The dad is the one who doesn’t bail when everyone else bails. Not every dad can be the greatest. But we can be there.
This Father’s Day, show up. If you’re in person, hug somebody. If you’re apart, call. If your kids are in prison, drive there. If all the prison allows is to sit in the waiting area, sit there a while. Your child will still know you’re there. Why does it matter? Because fathers show up.
You don’t have to be amazing. Just be there.