Father's Day is approaching this next week. Sometimes Father's Day doesn't get the same play that Mother's Day does a month earlier, but good dads are very important, and they deserve a tribute all their own.
Good dads aren't afraid to get involved when children are small: they diaper, bathe, feed, soothe, and play with babies. Later, they teach us to play sports, help with school projects, teach us how to drive, give us some rules for dating, and lead us to thinking about the future: college, career, and money. They teach us about men, and the masculine perspective on things. Good dads are solid, supportive, productive, trustworthy, and honorable. Dads help us move out and launch successfully. They listen.
Good dads stay involved even after divorces happen. They understand that parenting is for the rest of your life, no matter what. The very worst thing that can happen to children of divorce is that a parent can go away and not stay involved, emotionally, financially, or in terms of time.
Good grandfathers are worth their weight in gold. They show up and suit up to be involved with their grandchildren, and support their children through difficult and overwhelming phases of parenting. Good grandfathers take time to teach their grandchildren life skills, like how to work on a car, or save or invest money, or plant a garden. A strong relationship with your grandfather gives children roots.
Loving and kind stepfathers can be incredibly important. Just because you're not biologically related doesn't mean you can't be a caring mentor and presence in your partner's children's lives. It can be what you are willing to put into it. If you are a stepfather, then you are choosing to step in where a child has already experienced some loss. It will be important to be patient and understand it may be difficult for this child to trust. Your ability to show love, concern, interest and support of a child that is not your own can be one of the best things that ever happened to both of you. The choice is yours.
Here's a toast to dads, granddads, stepdads, and all the other good men who get outside themselves to reach out and help raise the next generation. We see you, we appreciate you, and we are grateful for you. Happy Father's Day!