Father's Day is Sunday, June 16, and I'm guessing many of you are searching for just the right gift.
Have you considered music? If your Dad is a fan, I recommend going to this website: www.iheart.com/graduation-playlist. Plug in the year he graduated from high school, and it will give you all the biggest hits from that year. You can find them on iTunes, burn them to a CD (yes, many Dads still use CDs) or put them on his Spotify or satellite radio list.
To truly enjoy it, of course, he will have to be a fan of Top 40 radio, which doesn't include everyone. There undoubtedly will be some songs that he likes, but there may be just as many that make his skin crawl.
Here's another idea, though. There are plenty of songs about dads out there, and many are quite good. I'm not talking about Harry Chapin's "Cats in the Cradle" or the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" or "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash. Those fathers will come in dead last in the Good Dad Sweepstakes.
Truth is, there are a lot more songs about lousy fathers than good ones. I guess it makes for more drama and gives the songs an edge. But you can find up-with-Dad songs if you dig a bit more deeply. Like these:
* "Color Him Father" by The Winstons. A stepdad enters the picture after the biological dad is killed in a war and rises to the challenge in a best kind of way, even though he's dealing with a family of seven kids.
* "Things My Father Said" by Black Stone Cherry. The hard-rockin' band softens things up a bit as vocalist/songwriter Chris Robertson sings: "Somewhere there's a star that's shining, so bright that I can see you smile."
* "Daughters" by John Mayer. A positive message about the impact of dads in their daughters' lives.
* "Dance with My Father" by Luther Vandross. Get the hankies ready as Vandross fondly remembers how, as a child, he and his dad would dance together as the youngster headed for bed.
* "Outfit" by Drive-By Truckers. A Southern dad gives his son some lessons on being proud of your heritage: "Don't call what you're wearing an outfit; don't ever say your car is broke. Don't sing with a fake British accent; don't act like your family's a joke." Words to live by whether you're Southern or not.
And finally, happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Sons and daughters, make sure he knows how you feel.
Contact Shawn Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.