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The Father's Day Gift That Keeps On Giving: Advice


And we know you remember that this Sunday is Father's Day. All this week, we've been saluting fathers with essays by dads to dads in our series, Father to Father.

Today, our final essay comes from Everett Young of Gaithersburg, Maryland.

EVERETT YOUNG: September 29th, 2003. I remember the day like it was yesterday, that little dark chocolate baby the doctor put in my arms, seven pounds, seven ounces and 21 whole inches, my first-born son. He was perfect.

February 15th, 2006. I remember that day, too. This time, he was a caramel bundle, seven pounds, 10 ounces, 20 and a half inches, my baby boy, and he was perfect.

Here I am in 2012, a father to an eight-year-old and a six-year-old. They are my pride and joy. They steal my heart with every smile, every joke, every look, every hug, but they are not perfect. See, when your children are born, you don't think about the challenges you may face. When they fit in the palm of your hand, you don't think about things like learning disabilities or ADHD. You don't think about how hard it may be to go over a math problem over and over again and your son just can't understand what's being asked.

And, when your second son comes and you look into those tiny brown eyes and play with his itty bitty fingers, you don't think about impulsivity and self-control issues. You tell yourself, I'm going to raise them up right, discipline them right and they'll turn out all right.

But life gives you twists and these things, these challenges you never thought about when they are babies, are realities when they are kids, and it can be heartbreaking and frustrating and disappointing at times. Our kids need a little help, a little special attention, a little different approach. It's not perfect, but it's our life.

But my journey has shown me that it's not about things being perfect. It's not about what I want from my life, what I thought my life was going to be like. It's about my kids and what I need to do to give them every advantage in life, not to be perfect, but to make them whole, to be happy, successful and triumphant at whatever level.

So, to dads all over, I just say there is no perfect. There is just your child. I'll say it out loud. No. My boys are not perfect in my eyes. That's just the honest to God truth. But here's what my boys are. They are joyful, they are kind, they are brilliant, they are fun, they are cheerful, they are spiritual, they are hilarious, they are thought-provoking, they are simple, they are grateful and they are loved - and that is enough for me.


MARTIN: That was Everett Young of Gaithersburg, Maryland with his thoughts on fatherhood and we thank all the fathers who contributed to our series this week, and to all the dads, the stepdads, the bonus dads, the grandfathers, the like-a-dads out there. Happy Father's Day.


MARTIN: Just ahead, the prosecution has rested in its case in the sex abuse trial of former Penn State coach, Jerry Sandusky, but the emotional turmoil continues, including among those connected to the program who wonder what they could have done. People like former Penn State football star, LaVar Arrington.

LAVAR ARRINGTON: I'm just continuously going through my mind, like, was there something I could have done? Like, dang, I knew the kid was upset.

MARTIN: The Barber Shop guys weigh in on that and other news of the week. That's just ahead on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.