Fathers, and sons who will likely one day be fathers.

I know today is the day that everyone is thinking about them, so I’ll add a few thoughts to the mix.

One thing I think is that its always a good time to appreciate someone who helped bring you into this world. Appreciation is in style and Fathers are not only (but they certainly include) those related by blood. There is a term “mentoring” that I’ve heard kicked around lately.

The Oxford dictionary definition of mentor is: “An experienced and trusted advisor”.

On this Father’s Day, in addition to honoring the man who gave us his genetic structure, it’s a great time to look around you and think of who in your life is “an experienced and trusted advisor”.  Mentoring in our society isn’t always recognized as such, and unfortunately, some historically trusted male mentors have been found out recently to have abused their roles, so we as a culture have pulled back from trusting our children to be safe and nurtured appropriately with anyone but the most trusted advisors.  However, as adults, which most of the people reading this are, you have appropriate boundaries and are safe to decide who to appreciate and name as mentors/those who have had some kind of fathering role in your life.

It’s a great exercise to take a look at those figure(s) in your life who have proven themselves as experinced and trusted advisors. They may not even be male. The thing about motherhood is that it’s associated with the act of giving birth and with women. Now there may be people in your life who have “birthed” you into a new phase of your life, male or female, who in some ways were manifesting the nurturing, creative spirit of Motherhood.  They are like mothers to you in a way different than what your biological mother can be.

Fatherhood can also be about basic genetic biology, or it can broaden to include  those who have mentored you, for however brief or lengthy period of time they crossed paths with you. It might be a coach from grade school who gave you an understanding of confidence or neighborhood politics, a neighbor who gave you your first job raking leaves and showed you the value of work and feeling valued for that work, or in a different way, the person who sits next to you the first time you brave going into a big city and get on a Subway, who actually gives you accurate instructions for how to navigate, and directions in a scary new city.

However, nothing matches the debt of gratitude and life due to those men who call themselves our Fathers, those who raised us and committed to provide and care for in good times and bad.

Thank you Dad.