As we roll into the month of June, most of us will be inundated with ads for Father’s Day gifts, seeing images of lawnmowers, grills, flash before your eyes. For those of us still lucky enough to have our fathers around, figuring out what to get dad can be a stressful to-do item as you lean into your summer season. How many more “#1 Dad” mugs does he need in the kitchen?
Instead of consumable goods, how about giving the gift of time? We can’t get any more of it, and for those of us who maintain a close relationship may find that our time left to spend with pops is running out. Some of us may have strained relationships with him and may want ideas on how to improve communication and enhance bonding.
Here are 8 resilience tips to gift ourselves and dad this Father’s Day:
1. Look through family photos, see if there are any photos from his days in school or the service. Ask questions.
2. Take a walk together (at a park, beach, or hiking trail) where time in nature will help process emotion and reduce stress levels.
3. For those avid golfers, get out on the links. If 18 holes is a tad much for dad, shoot for 9.
4. Watch a ball game on television or watch an episode of one of his favorite shows.
5. Treat him to a shave and a haircut at the barbershop. (This is an opportunity to communicate and discuss random topics – you never know where the conversations will take you)
6. Take a class together or watch a tutorial on YouTube.
7. Build something together (i.e., a birdhouse, model car). Shared project that can be topic for future conversations.
8. Take him out to his favorite restaurant, or, better yet, cook him his favorite meal.
Now here’s the secret… you can do any of these at any time! You don’t have to wait for Father’s Day or someone’s birthday. There’s never a bad time to reconnect and heal.
Nick Benas, USMC, is a former United States Marine Sergeant and Iraqi Combat Veteran. He travels around the United States training individuals on how to recognize a developing mental illness and how to prevent someone from slipping into a crisis. Nick attended Southern Connecticut State University for his undergraduate degree in Sociology, and for his M.S. in Public Policy. He has been featured by more than 50 major media outlets for his business success and entrepreneurship. He is the co-author of Mental Health Emergencies, Tactical Mobility, The Warrior’s Book of Virtues, and, most recently, The Resilient Warrior.
Buzz Bryan, USN, is currently the Outreach Coordinator for the West Palm Beach VA medical center. He previously served as the OEF/OIF Transition Patient Advocate (TPA) for the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN4) based in Pittsburgh, PA for ten years, working specifically with Iraq & Afghanistan veterans. Buzz was a member of the Navy/Marine Corps team and retired from the United States Navy in July 2007 after 22 years of honorable service as a Fleet Marine Force Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman. He is the co-author of The Warrior’s Book of Virtues and, most recently, The Resilient Warrior.