ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz is the founder and principal of the architectural firm Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, with offices in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
YES FOLKS, IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN… IT’S FATHER’S DAY WEEK!
Before having kids, I always felt that Father’s Day was a yearly celebration existing only to “level the field” versus the real retailer’s dream: Mother’s Day. A bit cynical, I know. Now, as a proud father of three girls, and as clichéd as it may seem, I want to reflect on how fatherhood has transformed the meaning of Father’s Day to me.
Father’s Day emerged during the Middle Ages with St. Joseph’s Day as a Catholic celebration of fatherhood. However, the celebration as we know it was not officially institutionalized in the US and chosen to be celebrated on the third Sunday of each June, until 1910.
Regardless, of its origins, Father’s Day allows us to pause and focus our attention on fatherhood, its significance, and its challenges. It forces me to reflect on the impact I have, my role as a father in the lives of my children and what kind of legacy I want to leave behind.
When I think about the legacy I want to leave my girls, I think about it from four different perspectives:
1. FAMILY LEGACY
I want my children to feel that for me, family always comes first. For them to feel certain in knowing that I will make time for them no matter how busy I am. Showing up and being there during the best of times and the worst of times is the best gift I can leave my family. A strong family unit and relationships are an invaluable legacy and example to leave to my children. Knowing you have a family you can always count on makes the journey through life easier. Family is everything.
2. PROFESSIONAL LEGACY
On the professional perspective of legacy, I hope to inspire my daughters to have careers in what they are truly passionate about and to use that passion to create a positive impact in our communities and the world.
I always wanted to be an architect. I cannot tell you how many times I was discouraged from practicing this profession. I do not want to impose my own fears and insecurities on my children. I want my daughters to ask themselves throughout their lifetimes, “What are my talents and gifts and how can I use them?” and “Why do I want to do this?” So that they can make the necessary tweaks and adjustments to grow both as professionals and as people.
3. EDUCATIONAL LEGACY
As Albert Einstein once said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” My own father always imparted on me the importance of education and hard work. He encouraged us to travel and learn about different people and cultures. This value of education is one I continue to pass on. I consider it a blessing and a gift to be able to give my daughters the opportunity of a world-class education.
I work hard so that I can afford to do so. I want my daughters to understand the importance of continuous growth and to value the opportunities they have been given. In a world where so many girls are deprived of an education, I want my girls to capitalize and use their knowledge and power to leave this world better than they found it.
4. PERSONAL LEGACY
Finally, I want my daughters to be proud of their father. I try to ask myself all the time, “Would this make my daughters proud?” I want them to follow my lead and try to learn from every good and bad experience they have in order to become a better person each day.
I want them to always treat people with kindness and contribute to society by making a positive difference in the world regardless of how big or small that difference may seem. I hope the legacy I leave behind will make my daughters as proud of me as I am of them.
Happy Father’s Day week to all the dads of the world!