With father’s day coming up fast, many of us are asking ourselves what it really means. Is it similar to mothers’ day earlier in the year? Or is it something fundamentally different?
For most men, father’s day is about celebrating the act of fatherhood – something that we don’t discuss a lot in our culture. We sort of know instinctively what being a dad means. Still, we don’t expend a lot of energy trying to articulate the nuts and bolts of the concept.
For many of us in our thirties and forties, it is about espousing male values and adding that aspect of life to the family. Dads are all about pushing their kids to succeed and helping them overcome adversity. For the most part, we’re happy to see our kids struggle, so long as it eventually helps them master their environment. We don’t pander. Instead, we accept life’s punches and want to prepare our kids for them as well. After all, they will inevitably arise, no matter how much coddling we do.
Being a dad is also about asserting the importance of having a dad-like figure in the family. Kids often need strong male roles to show them how they can go about living their lives successfully. Sometimes, you need empathy, and at other times, ruthlessness.
For other men, the day is about receiving some affirmation. Men put an enormous amount of effort into their families and want occasional recognition. Father’s day gifts certainly help us feel appreciated for all the hours we put in at work. But even something as simple as having a meal prepared or special “treat” can be a godsend. Working hard looking after a family isn’t the most straightforward task in the world, but one that is often taken for granted.
Father’s day is also a chance for the whole family to think about what it means to have a dad and remember those who don’t. Either their father is absent or died for some reason, and the kid and remaining parent must live together and somehow deal with the loss. As families, we rarely talk about the importance of the role or even define what it means. Father’s day is an opportunity for everyone to take a little time out of their schedule to see fatherhood for what it is – an essential element of the family setup.
There are all types of ways to celebrate father’s day in all its glory. For some, it is going for a day out in the park and having a good old-fashioned kickabout. For others, it is all gathering around for a slap-up meal – something hearty and wholesome.
Father’s day is also an event for posterity. It is something that many dads want to look back at in years to come, reminding them of what their lives used to be like when they were just starting on their journeys. Take some time to invest in photographs of you and your kids, and start creating memories. That’s what it’s all about.