My plans for Father’s Day: Stealth Compliments

This past weekend, one of my coworkers brought his parents by a work event and I got to do the very fun thing that I get to do very rarely: giving honest, effusive comments.  It feels weird (at least for me) to just turn to a friend and say “Do you know why you are extremely delightful? Well…” but much more natural to meet someone’s parents and say:

“Do you know the game Set?  And there’s usually a point in the game where everyone stares at the cards that are left and says ‘Well, I’m pretty sure there aren’t any sets left’ but there’s that one person who always just keeps finding them?  Well, that’s what your son is like, but for ideas.  It’s impossible to get exhausted brainstorming when he’s in the room.  But it’s never competitive or like he’s racing you; he’s even more delighted when it’s you that makes the connection.  So thank you for giving him to us.”

But I don’t get to do this very often!  So, I’ve got a plan.  I’m going to pick about five or so of my friends and send letters to their parents this year for Father’s Day (and, this year, belated Mother’s Day, next year I’ll do two waves).  I’m posting here about it a bit early, because I thought other people might like to glom on to the idea and to have enough time to pick out friends, write letters, and stealthily discover their parents’ email addresses.

And I should give a bit of the credit for this idea to my parents, who used to have my brother and me help them write thank you letters to our best teachers every year in June.  It’s nice to learn what gifts you are already giving others, especially if you were unaware you were doing it.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011 and lives in Washington DC. She works as a news writer for FiveThirtyEight by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • TheodoreSeeber

    It is indeed a nice idea. Too bad I can’t do this for my wife. E-mail addresses don’t exist where they are, and time travel to the past is beyond me.

  • Christian LeBlanc

    In a similar vein I have sent my in-laws a thank-you note on my wife’s birthday.

  • grok87

    Great idea. I love the idea of writing letters to your best teacher too!

    The book of Sirach from yesterday’s readings (one of my favorite books) has advice from a father to his son:

    My son, when you come to serve the LORD, stand in justice and fear,
    prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
    incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity.
    Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
    thus will you be wise in all your ways. Accept whatever befalls you,
    when sorrowful, be steadfast, and in crushing misfortune be patient;
    For in fire gold and silver are tested,and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
    Trust God and God will help you; trust in him, and he will direct your way;
    keep his fear and grow old therein.