[Or, Make Everyday Fathers Day]
Fathers Day is another maddening consumer holiday – a Hallmark-and-sporting-goods-store buying frenzy that sucks in families and spits out cheesy greeting cards, BBQ grills, monogrammed golf balls, and yes, soap-on-a-rope. It’s a compulsory holiday, one during which a great number of people are convinced that if they sign a card or make a phone call for Fathers Day, then they’ve successfully honored their father or husband for the previous (and upcoming) year.
On the other hand, it’s the one day out of the entire year where most of us feel comfortable reaching out to our fathers and husbands and boyfriends and sons and expressing our love and respect for them – even if it’s only with a corny card or the gift of a jar of aftershave and a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt. The acknowledgment of the importance of our roles as a father and mate by our family is a good and important thing in a man’s life, no matter what the particulars are.
Just as I believe that the women in our lives ought to be honored throughout the year for their role as mothers – to be respected for the work they do to nurture and heal and connect us – I also believe that men should be honored throughout the whole year for their ‘fatherness’. We as men also need to be respected for the work we do both in the world at large and in our families – the building, creating, mending, or teaching that we do daily.
So with that in mind, here’s an insider’s take on how to honor the man in your life on the other 364 days of the year.
Five Ways to Honor Fathers Everyday
- Ask him about his story: Sharing our experiences enriches our world. We keep our histories alive by telling the stories of our families, and we also learn about ourselves through listening and responding to other’s stories. So ask him to tell you about his childhood, or his work, or his dreams. Ask him to tell you about the scar on his knee or why he can’t stand avocados. When you hear these stories, you get a glimpse inside their skin and can then share those stories with your children or grandchildren – because it’s now your story too.
- Honor his body: Men need touch and affection from the people in their lives – whether we may project a hard outer shell or not, we all respond in a good way to human contact from the ones we love – so give to him in a way that nurtures and honors his physical being as a man. Support his health and physical wellbeing just as you would your child’s, as something precious and necessary and important.
- Give him space: We all need our own personal space, so I am a big proponent of making sure that there are times where mom gets time to herself. And since men tend to be even more inclined to crave ‘me-time’, it can be really important for fathers to get that space away from the whirlwind of work and family. Once we have some time in the cave, we can then return to the tribe with a fresh outlook and fresh energy.
- Believe in him: Putting your faith in a man’s potential for greatness is a powerful thing for him – he may not think he needs it, but when he has full support for his dreams and ambitions, the wind rises in his sails and carries him forward. Just as a mother should be respected also as the queen, so should a man be honored for his king-liness.
- Show and tell: A little note slipped in his pocket, a text message of love, a surprise gift ‘just because’, or paying attention to his preferences and anticipating his needs once in a while, go a long way toward honoring men as fathers. Men also need to hear they are loved, and whether you show him or tell him how you feel about him, do it regularly and often.
What other ways do you honor the men and fathers in your life?
(And these are also great ways to honor mothers and women, by the way.)
Image: andybullock77 at Flickr