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“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

Did you celebrate Father’s Day? We did. It was fun. I’m very fortunate to have been loved by a great dad, one who believed in me, just like Jim Valvano’s father, and I’ve tried to do the same for my children and grandchildren.

All that love certainly is a call for celebration, but at the same time I’m sad because we’re not all so fortunate. Some of my friends were alone, left out of the festivities last Sunday. There’s no celebration for those who don’t remember their dad or don’t have children of their own.

So, I’ve been wondering what it takes to be a father, other than, of course, the right plumbing and a partner. When I think about the many Hallmark messages I’ve read over the years, messages about how dads are appreciated for compassionate, accepting, nurturing behavior and all the rest, I’m struck by how these same qualities apply to more than just fathers. They could be written for a mother or even an older sibling.

The card could also be talking about a friend, a buddy.

Now, I am thinking about how I’ve allowed myself to be put in one of those “boxes” that I try to avoid. The boxes with the different labels.

I’ve taken pride in standing on my smaller Father Box, when instead I could help create a bigger box that included room for more people. Then, Father’s Day would be called Friend Day or Buddy Day. In fact, we could celebrate more than just once a year. That sounds more inclusive, and better for all of us.

You may not be a father, or a mother, but have you considered ways to bring your mentoring qualities into a child’s life?

It could be as simple as tutoring or just taking a neighborhood kid to a ballgame. You could coach a team or after-school activity. There’s a long list of ways to connect.

My Dad - K.B. McIntyre
“Work on it for awhile, then I’ll be along,” were my dad’s words to me when I was stuck.

By the time he found me, I had usually solved my homework problem, completed another boy scout project, or gotten my old car to run.

Of course, that was his plan all along, to let me figure it out before stepping in. He was my dad and I miss him.

Then next year, when Father’s Day rolls around, we could all be part of the celebration, with no one left out.

What do you hope to teach your children, or the new people you welcome into your life?

What help have you received? Maybe from your dad, but maybe from some other hero in your life.

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

Leave it to Gillette (the best a man can get) to give us some advice on old school communication in this new technology driven age we call normal.