The importance of Dad

Written by Julie Schillings

Father’s Day is a time to honor all of the dads who have made an impact in our lives. Fathers provide guidance and unwavering strength. They help to establish family values and lead by example. Many men willingly step into this influential role—stepfathers, granddads, coaches and teachers. No matter the biological connection, a father’s unconditional love expects nothing in return other than his family’s love and respect.

Father’s Day was unofficially inaugurated in the United States in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day, but it took several years before becoming nationally recognized. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in 1966. It was not until President Richard Nixon signed it into law six years later, that Father’s Day was made a permanent national holiday.

SPLURGE! celebrates the spirit of Father’s Day by sharing the stories of dedication and unconditional love of two local dads.

Larry Inlow—Dad, Coach and Hero

Firefighter and FC Wichita head soccer coach Larry Inlow says that marrying his high school sweetheart, Nikki, was the smartest decision he has ever made. In addition to being dad to Tyler (14) and Connor (10), Inlow’s role as a soccer coach and mentor has influenced numerous men over the years.

Young dads working to balance their professional soccer careers, travel and fatherhood find Inlow to be an important role model. He encourages his players to be involved, active fathers and to include their children in this exciting time in their career. “Sharing experiences as a family will create lifelong memories,” Inlow said.

Inlow recognizes the value of a strong support system. “I get to be the dad and the person I am because of the people around me,” he said. Passionate about both firefighting and coaching, Inlow is thankful that he has two “dream jobs.” He credits his wife and the support from family and friends for enabling him to contribute to the community in both capacities.

Favorite fatherly activities

The Inlows are an active family who are con- stantly on the go. When not at the hockey rink, basketball court or on the soccer field, they enjoy paintballing and going to the YMCA as a family. “I love watching Tyler and Connor play what they enjoy,” Inlow said. “Good game or bad game — it doesn’t matter as long as they are laughing and having a good time.”

Most influential father figure

“My ultimate hero is my dad,” said Inlow. “The amount of love and respect I have for him is huge. He has supported me in everything I do. He never pressured me to be a certain way or do a specific thing as long as I was happy.” He added, “As long as I am half the dad Allen Inlow is, I’ll be a successful father.”

Who is the disciplinarian?

“In all honesty, it depends on the topic,” acknowl- edged Inlow. “Luckily the boys do not get into much trouble, but no matter what, Nikki and I are always a united front. Period.”

Defining fatherhood

“The number one thing I want my boys to remem- ber about me is that I was always there for them no matter what, and that I will always have their back,” Inlow said. Creating memories and sharing special experiences strengthens the bond between a proud father and his two sons.

Mitch Herren — on the run with Team Lauren

Lauren Herren (25) was born with cerebral palsy and is unable to speak or walk, but thanks to her dad, Mitch, she has accomplished a goal that many aspire to but only a few complete — her first marathon.

In a custom racing wheelchair powered by her father, Lauren is able to experience the wind in her face and the exhilaration of the cheering crowds as she crosses the finish line. “One of my greatest rewards is sharing the excitement of racing with Lauren,” Herren said.

Herren is father to three daughters — Brooke (Herren) Mueller and twins Lauren and Taylor. Lauren has been a quadriplegic since birth, while her twin sister, Taylor, developed typically. Along with his wife Lisa, Herren has supported and encouraged Lauren to participate in as many activities as possible; so when Lauren asked him to compete in a road race, Herren enthusiastically began training with his daughter.

A local 5K race in 2011 was the beginning. Four years, dozens of races and thousands of miles later, Team Lauren is currently in training for their second Prairie Fire Marathon in October. “Lauren enjoys the discipline of training,” says Herren, “and on race days she loves the socialization.” Team Lauren has become a crowd favorite on the local racing circuit and is often joined by a group of family and friends.

Defining fatherhood

“I want my girls to remember me, not for what I’ve done career-wise, but for always being there for them.” Herren, who is a partner in the Hinkle Law Firm, demonstrates an unwavering commitment and dedication to his family in addition to his successful his legal practice.

Influential father figures

Herren acknowledges both his father and grandfather for being influential father figures in his life. “They had very different personalities, but both expressed love in the language a kid recognizes the most — spending time with me,” Herren said.

Best fatherly advice

One of the most important roles in fatherhood is that of advisor. When asked what is the best fatherly advice he had given his three daughters, Herren responded, “Make your decisions in light of eternity. What you see in this life is temporary.” He added: “Give everything your best, and if you do that, you will rise to the top even if you are not the smartest person in the room.”

Five favorite sayings from dear old Dad

A few treasured sayings have been passed through the generations. Modern dads cringe hearing the words of their fathers slip from their own mouths.
• Because I said so!
• When I was your age…
• It builds character.
• Money doesn’t grow on trees.
• Go ask your mother.

Five fantastic Father's Day movies

Snuggle up with dad to watch one of these movies portraying some of fiction’s finest fathers. Don’t forget the popcorn and some tissues.
• To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
• Field of Dreams (1989)
• Life is Beautiful (1997)
• Finding Nemo (2003)
• The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Five things Dad really wants to do on Father's Day

The SPLURGE! Gift Guide includes some unique treats for Dad. Here are some additional ways to make him feel extra special on Father’s Day:

Relax — What Dad wants most is to have the day free from pressure, chores and schedules.

Gratitude — Fathers want to feel appreciated. Make a special point of telling him specifically what he means to you and how much you appreciate him.

Focus on him — Busy family schedules do not always take into consideration Dad’s plans. Ask him what HE wants to do, and try to accommodate his wishes for one special day.

Time together — Go for a hike or hit balls at the driving range with Dad. Share a special meal or an ice cream cone. Spending time with his children is always a treat.

Romance — No further explanation needed here. father’s Day 2015

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