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Honoring a father figure on Father’s Day

When holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day roll around, the air of celebration can be difficult for some. Whether the day is bittersweet because a parent had died, or your family circumstances just happen not to include that official person, the day can be awkward. You can choose to ignore the day, of course. Or, you can make the choice to use the day to celebrate the person, whomever it may be, who fills that role in your life and/or your child’s life. Father’s Day isn’t just for fathers; it’s for father figures, too.

Family celebrating brother

An uncle, a brother, a grandfather, a close family friend, a teacher…anyone can be a father figure, really. Even a female! Truly! What makes someone an important role model in a person’s life doesn’t always have to do with biology or legalese. It has to with personal connection and interest and love – and often just plain being there. That’s a role worth noting – and celebrating – on Father’s Day.

Look to the positive

What makes a family is what you decide, what you create. With our changing social and economic landscape, families have necessarily changed. You may or may not have the “traditional” nuclear family, for whatever reason. So rather than focus on the strict bioloical definition of family, look around and look at who in your life and in your child’s life has had a profound, positive impact. Who was there when you needed them? Who took interest in your life and your child’s life when they just didn’t have to? Isn’t it time to show some appreciation?


Since we don’t (yet?) have a “Special Person’s Day,” you can make Father’s Day your own special celebration for that special person. The opportunity to show your appreciation for all that person does should not be passed up.

Showing appreciation for a father figure on Father’s Day does not have to be a fancy, elaborate thing – unless you want it to be. The father figure in question likely expects nothing on a day like Father’s Day (it’s unlikely they fill this role for the purpose of being appreciated!), but certainly will feel touched that you and/or your kids appreciate him and express it. You can buy a gift if you want, but a heartfelt conversation about how you feel likely will mean so much more than a thing.

Building the village

It certainly does take a village to raise a child, and father figures (as well as fathers) play a role in that village. No matter what your family situation – traditional or not-so-traditional – family and village is what you make it and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are what you make of them, too. Take the opportunity of Father’s Day to recogonize father figures and you’ll likely further cement your extended family – your village – for the benefit of all of you.

More Father’s Day tips:


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