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Father's Day. Celebration, Condemnation or Motivation.

Hey dads. Happy Father's Day! (And if you're not a dad, read on and pass this on to someone who is). At least I hope it's been a happy one. Many of you have received special calls, cards, memes and silly gifts plus loved them all. You've likely told your share of DAD jokes, well your family's sick of them, but you still don't care as long as people laugh or groan.

Others dreaded the day's arrival like they do every year. Thinking about your father doesn't conjure up many great memories, so you're happy when Monday arrives and things can return to normal or at least no more focus on someone not so special. You have other things, people and days to celebrate ahead of you but today isn't one of them. And that's okay.

Unfortunately, holidays, while often wonderful, can also be Kryptonite even for healthy families and potentially enjoyable days. Expectations can still be unmet, personalities clash, people feel slighted and wanted attention gets diverted to others. Emotional responses to these and other disappointments can ruin a good couple of hours in minutes.

So what might we kids and dads use positively this year as the day winds down and we move into another year, even if our overall feelings included a little or a lot of negative?

First, be thankful for what you do have. You may have the greatest dad in the world, just like my kids do. Okay, I'm kidding, just in the United States. You likely have lots to be thankful for so say it. Words matter so don't assume dad knows how you really feel. If you came out of a negative dad situation, you can still be thankful that you're alive, that you got to this world and that God still has plans for you that a negative family figure has no right to steal.

Second, if you're a dad take inventory of yourself. Yes, celebrate the special things you've done, enjoyed or even initiated this year. But where would you like to be more intentional as a dad, do something unique or even add a surprise for a milestone or special achievement? It's time to be creative here. But you might start with something your child especially enjoys and then go the extra mile to emphasize it.

It doesn't have to be costly, just meaningful.

Third, keep asking yourself, "What would I like my kid(s) to learn from me that I've not taught them or at least exposed them to? Perhaps there's a spiritual goal, physical challenge, job shadowing challenge or how to do some skill that you could learn together. This can be fun and actually make a significant difference down the road in your child's life, no matter their age.

You see, Father's Day, while really just a commercial, perhaps now traditional holiday, can still be a chance to both say what we need to say and motivate us to more in the future. Unfortunately, dads are noticeably absent in many homes and neighborhoods. And numerous research shows just that.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2020 in Psychology Today that almost one fifth of children in America live with a single mom, almost three times the percentage in 1960. Millions more have dads in the home who are essentially emotionally absent. We can't make a huge change in those numbers but we can keep doing our part to be dads who are present, teaching, loving and wisely supervising our kids together when possible.

And moms who are single? Way to go. You're doing double duty. Father's Day should be celebrating you. Don't quit and be sure to let others help you.

And whatever your situation? Don't quit the dad jokes. "I adopted a dog from a metal worker. As soon as we got home he made a bolt for the door."


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