The first time I set foot in Montana, I was 24 years old. I drove from the Midwest in a Ford station wagon with all of my belongings – windows down and Neil Young blaring on the stereo – heading to the Bitterroot for an internship that would have me living in a camper in someone’s yard. And – because of that sketchy arrangement – I was accompanied on my great road trip to the West by my dad. He made it seem like he was just up for an adventure, but he was quite prepared to scoop me up and take me home if the Bitterroot turned out to be a spooky backwater and the internship turned out to be forced labor on a ranch. So we had our grand adventure. We christened my Big Sky dreams by throwing snowballs at the top of Beartooth Pass, and I settled into that camper knowing I was loved and could always go home.
My dad’s super power has always been spotting me, sometimes invisibly, so he could catch me from any little or giant fall. Now that I’m a parent, I marvel even more at this incredible skill. I watch my husband and my daughter climb trees to look at birds’ nests, or amble down the trail, pockets loaded with the special rocks they have found, and I know there are many, many more amazing dad super powers out there in this world. They are important to celebrate, because these dad super powers really can create a Mega-force Positive Protector Super Shield for our kids and our community.
Take, for example, the amazing dad super power called Role-modeling – kids who grow up around this super power know they deserve to be treated well in their relationships, when they see their parents respecting each other, kids actually feel they are more accepted and respected. Or, the astonishing super power called Spending Time with Your Kids. This power abounds in the Bitterroot – and we’re lucky for it, because being involved in kids’ lives is a great way to help them grow up healthy and happy! What about the truly remarkable super power Listening? or the inter-galactic super power Showing Affection?
I have seen inspirational Super Dad powers at work at SAFE. Countless dads call the crisis line with concerns about their daughters’ and sons’ relationships, commonly it’s dads who stand by their daughters in asking for orders of protection, many grandpas are active caregivers of their grandchildren. I see those powers in our staff and board members who are dads, in our incredibly dedicated crisis line volunteers who are dads, in caring teachers who want their students to have healthy relationships and father many children beyond their own. I see those powers in the 100 Good Men donors, whose names are listed on a poster in the hallway. The truth is: Dads are super important in helping stop domestic and sexual violence in our community. These are real superheroes, with powers far more meaningful than leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
So, come celebrate Super Dads with SAFE and the Ravalli County Coalition this Saturday, June 14 at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market. We’ll have games and Father’s Day crafts – it’s a great (free!) way to spend some time with the kids and hone your super powers. Happy Father’s Day and THANK YOU!