Monday, 10 June 2013

The perfect Fathers Day gift; and no, it's not soap-on-a-rope!

So, Fathers Day is one week away and counting.  This year I've been far more aware of its looming presence, more so than any other year.  I wonder if it is because of the fact that as my daughter gets older, I settle into being a father more and more and therefore no longer view myself as the 18-year-old I once was, but more like the thirty-three year old that I am, paying bills, taxes and going to work.  

To be honest, settling into fatherhood probably has very little to do with it, I would wager a bet that it's more to do with media coverage.  In the past few weeks, advertisements have told me where I should eat next Sunday ("dads love steak!"), the fact that I need a Kindle (but Amazon, I already have one) and my favourite, wait for it..., a triple-pack CD loaded with "Trucking Songs"; yip, trucking songs - in other words, "hits of the highway"...exactly what bands like Queen and Kiss intended when they were writing their hit singles all those years ago.

Okay, so I'm being slightly facetious and unnecessarily sarcastic, but it always makes me chuckle how advertising always pulls at the heartstrings - treat your dad and be nice to him on this day; take your loved one out and buy her red roses on that day; don't worry too much about Jesus' birth, rather go out and get the latest and greatest toys.  Focusing on (and appealing to) what Ivan Pavlov called a reflex response, is a powerful tool based on Pavlovian Classical Conditioning; this is used by advertisers and the media every single day.  Attach something like a steak to the greatest dad in the world and there you have it, conditioning done.  Reflecting on this always makes me think of the Axe/Ego/Lynx deodorant ad campaigns.  I'm still waiting on the day that this can of butane will direct gorgeous women in bikinis towards WILL happen; butane and attraction are a match made in heaven (see how I linked up the Queen example in the previous paragraph with the title of their last album in this paragraph? Pure writing genius).

I read a blog this morning which was based on the ten best gift ideas for the father/man in your life.  The ideas included a new TV, an adventure weekend away with the guys, tickets to a big game, a personal trainer, an extreme sports camera...; what happened to good old soap-on-a-rope and socks?  When I was growing up, the true sign of a brilliant father was pretending, year in and year out, that soap-on-a-rope was the best gift a man could poor father perfected the art!

One gift idea I am going to plug although is a journal called from you to me.  My daughter bought this for me (actually it was my wife) for my last birthday.  It is an unbelievably simple concept, but probably one of the most amazing gifts I have ever received.  It's a blank journal with some leading questions to help fathers reflect on their life and record these memories using the journal.  The idea is to record things about your past and present and then give the completed journal back to your little one once they have grown up; I'll probably give it back to my daughter on her eighteenth or twenty-first birthday.  You can purchase a copy by clicking here.  I have no ties to this company, and am not trying to plug this product for any other reason than what I said is, quite simply, a beautiful idea (I wish my dad had known about this and done the same for me when he was still alive).

Any other great gift ideas out there?

This photo is taken from the website mentioned above - I have no claim to it.


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