If I get to give the world just one thing – it will be more good dads. I enjoy the responsibility of being a role model for boys and young men. I embrace being a role model for girls and young women. In both cases, I am demonstrating: this is the way a good man behaves.
And to children and young people who identify as transgender or gender queer, my responsibility is even greater. My greater example is: this is how a good and loving human behaves.
Ideally, I would live in a world in which human behavior is not limited or dictated by social constructs around gender.
But I don’t. So, it matters how I behave in the social context of my being a white, cisgender, heterosexual man. It matters how I behave as a male healer, advocate, parent, business owner, and moreover, as a leader.
Many years ago, I was approached by a man who knew my support of addiction recovery. He pointed toward our differing beliefs and cynically asked me what would turn the tide of addiction. I answered him earnestly, “Invest in every child you meet.”
I have a huge place in my heart for people who do that and an even bigger place for men who step up where others failed.
One of my current heroes is a young man locally who has four kids. They are not his biological children, but in every way that matters, he’s their dad. I am so enamored of his heart. He shows up with open arms. He shows up exhausted, bent, and broken, and gives them the love they’ve been starving for.
You won’t ever hear about him, but he’s the best kind of man.
He understands that greatness is not personal achievement. Greatness can be measured by the investments a person makes in the well-being and success of our most vulnerable.
I will never forget how afraid I was as a new dad.
To the men who are terrified of being like our fathers were but show up every day and do the best they can: I love you and I understand. Your best is always good enough. Try being half as good to you as you are to your kiddos.
To the dads I see playing with the group of kids at the bus stop: You inspire me every day.
To the dads working overtime because your child wants ballet lessons: You’re a rock star.
To the dads who don’t understand and are afraid for their children who come out as LGBTQ+ but pledge their love and devotion anyway: Thank you. Your example helps free us all from hate.
Happy Fathers Day.