By Dr. Elizabeth King, LCSW, CHt
With Father’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking about fathers in general.
Some of us are lucky enough to have amazing dads, biological or otherwise, who support us, allow us to grow, provide strength when it’s needed, give advice even if it’s not, and who are proud of us for being strong, smart, and sassy.
Others among us aren’t so lucky. Maybe the relationship between father and daughter can best be put as “complicated”, maybe it’s worse than that, or maybe he’s just never been around at all.
Our fathers may or may not have had a hand in shaping us into the women we are. Are we strong and self-assured thanks to good dads? Or confident and mature in spite of less than perfect ones?
As adults, we can choose how our father figure relationships affect our futures, but only if we are aware of how they have affected our pasts. If your father was fantastic, you can strive to share as much of his wisdom and strength as possible with other people in your life. If the opposite is true, we can learn from that as well and strive not to pursue unhealthy relationships.
We also have a lot to think about the example we set for the young women in our lives – our children, if we choose to have any, or any other youth we befriend, mentor, or support. The men we let into our lives also affect our other relationships, and provide teaching moments for watchful young eyes.
Whether the men in our lives are our own fathers or the fathers of our children, our friends, boyfriends, husbands, or soulmates, the way we treat them and allow them to treat us helps shape the culture we want to leave for those women who come after.
If your father is a terrific dad, don’t forget to appreciate him this month. If your significant other is a great dad, do the same. If you know a man who consciously fights against toxic culture and strives to be more than the bare expected minimum, let him know he’s doing the right thing.
Sons deserve men they can look up to, who teach them that emotions aren’t shameful, and that women are deserving of respect. Girls deserve men who boost them up instead of holding them back, who tell them yes, they too can run for President, that they deserve respect – for their bodies, their brains, and their skills.
This Father’s Day, let’s hear a big SASSY shout-out for all the fantastic dads in the world – whether they are ours or not. You go, Dads!
It’s time to put on your lipstick attitude and get out there and live a SASSY life!