Honoring Our Fathers

by Marco Rubio

Fatherhood is a gift. And caring, selfless fathers are needed more today than ever before. From helping children with homework to showing them unconditional love, fathers everywhere are leaving lasting impressions on the lives of their children.

Each Father’s Day, America’s children honor and give thanks to the men who have shaped us into who we are today. In raising us, they sacrificed to ensure that — when our own time came to start families, build businesses, and defend America — we would answer the call to preserve and strengthen the exceptional nation we inherited from them.

When I think about all it has taken for my generation to inherit this great country, I think about our Founding Fathers, the veterans who have served our nation and the entrepreneurs who have created unmatched prosperity. But I especially think of the fathers I’ve met throughout my life — ordinary men, with ordinary jobs, but who possess extraordinary ambitions for their children, along with the unshakeable belief that America is the one place on earth where anyone can accomplish anything.

In my own life, I thank God each day that my parents could leave Castro’s Cuba and were welcomed by the United States. Without a penny and with limited education, my father worked long, draining hours at jobs so that my brother, my sisters, and I could have careers. My dad’s jobs were ordinary, but his tireless work ethic, family devotion, and faith in America’s promise are the very traits that make our country, and Americans like him, so exceptional. Through his own example, my father taught me how to be a good husband to my wife, a father to my children, and a provider to my family. These are valuable lessons that I have carried with me throughout my life, and that I strive to instill in my own children today.

Seeing my parents’ sacrifice drove me to work and study hard to put myself through college and law school and seize all the opportunities my parents had worked so hard to make available to me. Growing up, that was my way to honor them. The fact that the son of a bartender could become Speaker of the Florida House and, hopefully, Florida’s next U.S. senator is a testament to America, my father, and the values he instilled in me.

Unfortunately, many of the fathers I talk to lately are deeply troubled about America’s future. They’ve seen their nest eggs depleted by necessity amidst record and prolonged unemployment. The businesses they founded and had hoped to leave to their children have closed. A college education, the greatest asset for upward mobility, is unaffordable.

And they are concerned by our nation’s reckless spending and growing debt. Fathers with their children’s best interests at heart wouldn’t work all day only to splurge it all — and then some — at night on the family credit card. And yet, that is essentially what our government has been doing. Fortunately, this trajectory is not irreversible.

The best way to honor our fathers (and mothers) today and every day is to make the sacrifices and choices that will keep America exceptional and ensure that our own children inherit a country greater than the one we inherited.

This Father’s Day, let’s send our best wishes to all the dads across Florida and America and those serving our nation overseas. But, as fathers, let’s also recommit ourselves to the greatest responsibility we have to our children — to make the choices today that will leave our children better off and make us worthy of being honored every Father’s Day for decades to come.

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