Honor Dad on Father's Day

Jun 3, 2009 at 5:45 a.m. ET

Dada. Daddy. Dad. Father. Pops. No matter what you call him, the meaning is all the same. In one simple word is a powerful and influential man in most people's lives. Fathers are not just "dads" -- they are counselors, coaches, advisors and friends. There's no better time than Father's Day to honor and thank Dad for the impact he's had on your own life. Here we offer the top 12 reasons to honor Dad this Father's Day -- and every day.

Father and daughter

Learn to ride a bike

He helped you learn to ride a bike

When you're a kid, there are some pretty scary lessons to learn. But Dad's hand on the back of your bike seat made you feel safe, secure and confident enough to try riding without training wheels.

He helps you with your finances, even though you're an adult

Dads are great about doing certain things. Even though you know you should handle things on your own, he's always there for you if you need a hand. There is great comfort in having a little help from Dad (even as an adult). It's kind of like that hand on the back of the bike seat.

He came to every dance recital, softball game and school function

As they grow, kids all get to the point where they're embarrassed if parents make an appearance -- especially (gasp!) in front of your friends. Regardless, your dad supported you through it all and was at every important function you can remember. Looking back, aren't you grateful for that?

He influenced your life in a major way

Dad went to ASU, so of course you followed in his footsteps and graduated with honors. He loves fly-fishing, so you can tie a fly with the best of them. Having an involved father means that you want to be just like him. That is perhaps that best compliment a father could receive.

He can give you a "man's perspective" -- and a father's

Seeing something from a different point of view is crucial. When you ask your father for advice, you get a two-fer. Not only can he offer a man's perspective, he can offer his advice from a father's point of view -- which means he is looking out for your best interest.

He taught you how to love by example

Love is a tough lesson to teach, and one that is taught best by example. Watching the way your father treated your mother may not have been something you were aware when you were 5, 10 or even 20. But many important lessons don't have to involve a sit-down listening session. When teaching values such as love and respect, Dad led by example, and that makes the biggest difference.

He showed you how to change your oil and fix a flat

You can thank dear old Dad for teaching you the practical and essential lessons that helped you become an independent adult. But it's nice to know that if you need him, he'll still help you change your oil or fix your flat tire.

Father and daughter talk

He is the first man you learned to trust

Trust is a powerful thing, and as you were growing up, you could always count on Dad. Need we say more?

He provided for you the best he could

Whether you had a brand-new sportscar, sputtered along in an old jalopy or shared a family car at 16, Dad saw that you had wheels to drive, even if he insisted you get a job to help pay for it.

He took you to your first ball game, camping trip and Girl Scout meeting

Look back on some of your "firsts." Do they include your dad? Yep, we thought so. Dads are the perfect tour guides through some of life's most exciting and memorable first experiences.

He talked to you about the birds and the bees

Sure, there were some "uncomfortable" moments with Dad, but they were well-intended lessons. And as awkward as they were, aren't you thankful for those embarrassing heart-to-hearts?

He knows everything about you -- and loves you for who you are

Dad knows exactly how you got that scar on your left elbow; he remembers patching it up and drying your tears. He knows about your first bad grade, your worst breakup and even the time you lost your job. But he also knows that all these experiences have made you who you are today -- the person he loves regardless of your mistakes.

He's showing you how to be a great parent

Without even trying, Dad taught you the greatest lesson of all: How to be a wonderful parent in your own right. Whether you do things just like him or in your own special way, he has given you more insight than you'll ever need... just by setting an example.