Many different men serve as fathers

Published 11:42 pm Friday, June 14, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

This Sunday is Father’s Day, a day set aside for thanking the men who helped make us who we are.

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It’s the 110th Father’s Day since Washington state celebrated the first one on June 19, 1910, according to It’s the 48th Father’s Day since the day became a national event in 1972.

Father’s Day took longer to catch on than Mother’s Day and even faced opposition from “manly” men early on in its existence, because it was supposedly too sentimental and soft. It’s a day that has evolved in its meaning over time, and that meaning is continuing to evolve today.

As much as the media talks about absent and abusive fathers, you could be forgiven for believing such bad dads are the norm, rather than the exception. Nonetheless, there are quite a few people for whom Father’s Day is hard to celebrate because of who their fathers are and how their fathers treated them.

This is why it’s good that the day can continue to change with the culture that celebrates it. Today, Father’s Day doesn’t have to be a day just to celebrate your biological male parent. You can make it a day to celebrate any man who helped you grow up.

There are fathers who have loved and cared for their children since birth, taught them how to brush their teeth and ride a bike, supervised sleepovers, whooped and hollered at middle-school basketball games, passed on morals and a strong work ethic.

There are grandfathers who took their grandchildren in, watched them after school, took them to church on Sundays, showed them what wisdom looks like.

There are adopted fathers who sheltered children that didn’t have a home, helped heal past wounds, demonstrated dependability and compassion.

There are teachers who took students under their wings, went above and beyond in order to spark their minds. There are family friends who gave children a place to spend the summer. There are bosses who trained their employees to succeed. There are volunteers who served as Big Brothers to kids who needed a friend.

There are also fathers and father figures who have rocky relationships with their kids or those they think of as their kids. Perhaps you don’t see eye-to-eye politically, or there were some bad moments mixed in with the good that left some sore spots. No father is perfect, and that’s OK.

Regardless of who filled the father role for each person, everyone has someone — or someones — who did. This Sunday is the official day for telling those fathers, “Thank you,” whether it’s with lunch, a tie, a call to catch up or a visit to the cemetery. The fathers in all of our lives deserve it.