The Importance of a Father: A Son’s Perspective

By: Rush Bishop, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, Conference Coordinator*

A father is not a biological title, nor is it given. The title of “father” is a promotion that is earned from being selfless. It is title shown from unconditional love; it is a title that establishes a beautiful bond between family members that can never be broken--a father is irreplaceable.

When exhibiting or presenting at conferences, a consistent question I get is, “are you a father?” As usual, I reply with a simple, “no,” but of course, I know the next question that will be asked: “how do you relate to fathers when you are not one yourself?”

Through 26 years of life, I am fortunate to not only have a father in my life, but a father that is also a role model, a father that taught me how to play sports, helped me with my homework, and taught me how to fix basic household items, a father that taught me right and wrong, and most importantly, a father that taught me what it means to be a man. I understand I may not be able to relate to fathers as well as another father, but a father’s (or father figure’s) importance is essential to the growth and development of their children.

Unfortunately, not everyone is fortunate to have their father’s presence in their life, and even if a father is “around,” this does not mean they are a role model. If this is the case, Father’s Day can still be celebrated and observed. Here are my suggestions:

  1. If your biological father is still in your life and it is appropriate to do so, still wish him a happy Father’s Day. He will appreciate it!
  2. If your father has been absent in your life, reach out to a male mentor/role model. Thank them for everything they have done for you. Handwritten cards are a thoughtful and cost-efficiency way of doing this.
  3. In addition to the point above, if a mother, a grandparent, or another family member takes on the responsibilities of a father, celebrate them! Cleaning your room or the house, setting the dinner table, or other voluntary chores is a great way to show this.
  4. If you are a service provider, a family member, or work with children and help their families in any capacity, help them with ideas on how they can celebrate with their father or father figure, especially if their mother is not in the picture.

In closing, Father’s Day is a great way to celebrate your father, male mentor/role model, or other family members. It can be done in a cost-efficient or cost-free way, too. The main idea is to show gratitude and appreciation for the father in your life. Your father will appreciate the effort and recognition, and you will feel good about yourself too. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse’s website, fatherhood.gov, contains tip sheets, fact sheets, activities, webinars, media campaigns, and many more resources to make Father’s Day a success.

*The views expressed in this blog are solely the author’s views, and do not represent the views of the author’s employer, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse’s, or any other projects the author works on.

This guest blog is part of the series: Missing Dad Incarceration and the Difficulty of Father’s Day. We invite you to follow the link to read all of the contributions in the series.