The Meaning of Father’s Day


It sneaks up on us every year. The summer season begins and shortly after: the day for dads. Advertisements, sales on ties, barbecues, and a selection of electronics seem to be everywhere we go, the unsubtle, constant reminder, ‘Hey, don’t forget about Dad.’

But what does Father’s Day really mean? Is it just another Hallmark holiday like most people say it is, or perhaps an excuse to sell merchandise that consumerism gears towards men, or is it really just about dad?

The fact of the matter is that Father’s Day means something different for everyone.

For Father’s Day I typically buy my father a t-shirt with something he enjoys on it, such as a labrador retriever or an old truck, accompanied by a humorous, lighthearted slogan. Whether my present is the traditional apparel or a coupon for a homemade dinner, every year I present his gift, give him a hug, and say “Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you.” This is an aspect of my life that remains consistent. My father and his special day are things I can always depend on.

I know this is not always the case.

For children in foster care this day may be painful, unacknowledged, or simply just another day. As a foster or biological father, a Father’s Day celebration may bring the pressure of perfection, a quiet anxiety that says this day should look a certain way.

Father’s Day is different for everyone. Fatherhood is also different for everyone, but what makes a father is neither shared genetics or lack thereof. Any individual circumstance or shared moment can qualify as a “Father’s Day celebration”. This day is about love and the acknowledgment of the love you have for someone in your life. This is what any holiday should be about, or better yet every day

A day on a calendar does not signify when or who you can express sentiments towards. A day for dads is daily, just as is a day for yourself, friends, mothers, siblings, mentors, pets, whoever.

“The giving of love is an education in itself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt