My dad used to send me into a panic whenever given the ceremonial after-dinner card on birthdays or Father’s Day. What was I worried about?
He actually read the card aloud to the family.
“Holy cow—what does it say?” I’d be thinking through my sweat. For, being a young man of my time, I’d never read the message through, just a few words on the front and skimmed to the ending. Happily, though, because American Greetings cards are carefully crafted to say just the right thing, I needn’t have worried. Now I’m editing those card lines and, as a father myself, I take great pride in selecting just the right Father’s Day messages for our products.
My dad was probably a lot different from yours: like many of his generation, he wasn’t overly expressive of his softer side, preferring to let his actions speak for him. Younger dads are a lot closer to their kids and more open with their feelings, though not all are as comfortable that way as others. So if you want to know what to say in a Father’s Day card, it’s gotta start with what kind of guy he is.
Is he the classic strong, silent type?
If so, he’s going to know all about saying the most with the least amount of words and reading between the lines for the deeper message. If you’re going for the plain and direct Father’s Day wish, it might read something like:
- Straight up and right to the point…you’re a great dad and you’re loved very much.
- You’re the best. End of story.
Is he a funny kinda guy?
If you’re more likely to share your message in a kidding way, it can be funand affectionate at the same time.
- Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Okay! Good talk.
- Let’s be honest—you wouldn’t have this special dayif it wasn’t for me!
What if he’s an old softie?
These guys can handle a little sentimentality. You might want to turn up the love, pride, or gratitude just for him.
- I’ll never be too old to need you, Dad.
- Hope you know how much I’ll always love, care for, and appreciate you.
- For all the wonderful things you do that I might not always notice, thank you.
Has he had a real influence on your life, even if he’s not your biological father?
He deserves to know how you feel about him.
- A father is someone who cares and helps and guides you. (Shared DNA not required.)
- Just thinking about how lucky I am to have you in my life.
- Every day Ifeel gratitude for all you’ve done for me.
Are there any special interests he’s known for?
Sometimes it’s nice just knowing you”get” him.
- Thanks for teaching me how to “play the game,” Dad. I’m talking sports, of course.
- Your love of [photography] taught me to [look at things from a unique perspective]. Thanks, Dad.
- No one masters [the grill] the way you do! Love you [and your cookouts]!
No matter what type of man he is,
if there’s one thing all dads everywhere want to be recognized for, it’s the hard work they put into being a good father. You really can’t go wrong with a simple “I notice.”
- For the wonderful things you do that I might not always notice, and the words of wisdom that might sometimes get ignored, thank you. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel very, very lucky to have a dad like you!
Whether you come up with something sweet, witty, or wise, only you know what makes the dad in your life so special to you—and that’s what he really wants to hear.
Steve Johnson is a lifer at American Greetings, with over 30 years of experience
in the social expressions game. He lives, works, and writes in the Cleveland area.