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The Quiet Dad

After my granddaughter’s gymnastics, she’d always ask to go to the park next door—even in the winter. When you’re a high energy child, cold is relative. Our routine seemed to overlap with a dad and his son. I’d watch them as I watched my granddaughter go through her favorite activities—crossbar, swings, spinner, and the curly slide.

But the dad was not doing the same. He’d go hand-in-hand with his boy—pointing to trees, clouds, and the texture of the grass. I could see they were in a different place—one of sights, smells, and feels.

His son didn’t speak, so the father spoke into the silence around them. Since it was winter, the park was quiet—just the four of us—an energetic girl, and a boy who experienced the park in a way I never had.

We were at the same place, but in different worlds.

I saw a father’s love for his son expressed in quiet words of exploration. Never once did his son use the swing or try the crossbars. His world was spent touching tree bark and looking at dark clouds dancing.

I listened to the father’s gentle guidance and was inspired to see things through his imaginative lens. Whether his son was on the autism spectrum, or something else, I didn’t find out. The father never distracted his son with outside conversation. Nor did I ever see a cell phone in his hand. It was just a father’s gentle voice, and the small hand of his son in his own.

I’ve not seen them since winter ended. With more kids at the park, perhaps it’s too loud. I suspect this father has found a quieter place to see nature, experience life, and love his son.

With all the cultural noise about fatherless homes, there are many more homes with fathers fully engaged in helping their children every single day.

As Father’s Day approaches, I think of this special dad with his quiet son, and I celebrate him. I also salute all the dads out there working hard to help provide support and unconditional love for their children.

Fatherhood isn’t easy, and it can seem no one really sees your effort—but your children see, and you are their inspiration. Happy Father’s Day and God bless you.


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