As a father myself, I appreciate a day that acknowledges me and and my role as a male parent. It is very nice to be appreciated. However, I believe there is more to Father’s Day than funny cards, neck ties, argyle socks and a round of golf. Those things are great, but there is something more important that is usually overlooked. Father’s Day should be a time where all men do a little soul searching about what it means to be a father. We should be asking ourselves what influence do we have on our children – particularly our sons. What impact do we make in our families and in our communities?
I say “all men” should do this because these days, the role of the traditional father isn’t what it used to be. So often children are being raised in homes where the “father” isn’t engaged, involved, or sometimes even present. Therefore, the role of the “father” gets passed on to any male role model willing to take it on. We must recognize that all men have a part in raising the children in their lives. Every interaction we have with a child is an opportunity to pass on a version of masculinity that is thoughtful, kind, generous, caring, loving and most importantly involved. It is also an opportunity to dispel the myth that men have to always be tough, strong, rugged, silent and uninvolved. If we do not do this, then traits such as compassion and empathy will continue to be thought of as feminine traits. This is damaging to men and boys because we all feel things like compassion but are forced to hide it out of fear. We are afraid that we will lose our social standing in the male community for expressing traits and qualities that have long been considered unmanly. We must recognize that these traits are not male or female, but human traits that all humans experience.
So my Father’s Day gift to all men is permission. I give you permission to be your authentic selves. I give you permission to explore your role as a father and to be all of the things you were meant to be to your child and to the other children in your life. I give you permission to reflect on what being a “father” is really all about and to change the things about yourself that need changing. Lastly, I give you permission to support other men in their efforts to be better male role models and to create gender equality.
Now that would be something to celebrate!
Happy Father’s Day!!!