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Mentor, guide, cheerleader or motivator, Rabbi Daniel Cohen possesses a unique blend of authenticity, wisdom and spiritual insight for contemporary society.

The Best Father's Day Gift

The Best Father's Day Gift

Golf Balls, Hardware, or a 7 Piece BBQ set? These are just three of the top Father’s day gifts for 2018. We are bombarded by ads about what to buy for Father’s Day or cool gift ideas.  

However, if it is a day only about gifts, we are missing a special opportunity to reflect on the meaning of fatherhood.  What does it mean to be a dad on Father's Day?

As a Rabbi officiating at hundreds of funerals and hearing from children about their parents, I am always struck by the memories that endure.  Almost universally, nobody remembers what their parents told them; they remember how their parents made them feel.

As a father and a son I can further attest that the most enduring relationships are never forged through the exchange of a gift but sharing of time with each other.

This Father’s Day, remember and exemplify the secret I am about to share -- it will transform the way we live and the way we will be remembered.

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

This weekend, ask yourself what kind of a dad are you and how do you make your kids feel?  

 None of us are going to live forever. That makes today -- each moment -- important and special. What are we doing to make the most of it?

Try the “I will never forget” exercise.  Write the words “I will never forget” on the top of a page and think about the moments in our life you will never forget. Why do these thoughts emerge? How can we create such moments as fathers and grandfathers?

I will never forget driving with my parents to find a scenic spot overlooking the fireworks at Lenox Mall in Atlanta. We sat atop the hood of our car in the heat waiting for the spectacle in the sky. Ironically, the most impactful memory was not the actual fireworks but the ride in the car, family in tow, and the joyous expectation as we rode together on the hilly roads and darkening skies.

I remember this moment so vividly for at least two reasons. It was a moment we experienced together as a family. It was a moment shared: one of the hallmarks of an enduring memory. More importantly, the experience reveals a fundamental truth.  In life the destination is not nearly as important as the journey. We got in the car for a family outing to watch the fireworks which ironically yield a temporary burst of light but the lasting lights were generated on the ride and spending time with each other.

The words of Dr. Seuss ring true, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

One of the happiest moments of my life was walking to synagogue with my father in the pouring rain. Although we were soaked, my spirit soared. There was no place I would rather be at that moment than holding my father's hand on the way to synagogue. The moment embodied the love and respect of a father and the shared timeless value of the sanctity of the Sabbath. Little did my father know the impact of this timeless moment together.

The cost of creating a memory is minimal. It is not about how much money we spend whether on a gift or vacation but on the attention, focus and time we give each other.

This Father’s Day take a walk with your loved ones. The benefits are priceless and eternal.   

 

 

 

Five Questions for the New Year

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