Happy Father's Day: Grateful for Positive Male Role Models

Today is not just Father’s Day in our household, but also my Dad’s birthday! Guess this means I have to be extra behaved on this special day? In all seriousness, I would like to take the time to thank my dad and the male role models I have in my life.  

Growing up, my dad ran his own business, often gone before we were even awake, working 12+ hour days and then carting my brothers off to hockey or baseball, where he coached on his down time.  He never missed my recitals or sports games, unless my brothers had another commitment somewhere else.  He was and still continues to be present in all big things in my life.  He has watched all of my races, twice in the rain; now that’s dedication.  I recognize that under other circumstances and in other families, this has not always been the case, and I am thankful that I have grown up with two loving parents, dedicated to making my life and my brothers’ lives the best they can be.

Just this past week, we remembered my Grandpa, passing away already a long 7 years ago.  I don’t know where the time has gone.  He was the smartest yet funniest man.  He could crack a joke and tell a great story from the past but could always be there to provide you with an honest opinion.  He was trustworthy and his personality traits definitely wore off onto his son.  I am forever grateful that I have grown up with two positive male role models in my life.

Now let’s flip the switch:
Lately in the media, posts have been flooding news feeds regarding ‘what dads should teach their sons’, after the ridiculous rape trial that has been going on with Brock Turner.  It is a very sad situation on all ends.  However, not to turn this situation back onto everyone else, but we must remember to teach ALL children and people, not just sons, about how to behave and the respect we owe other human beings.  Often we hear the statements, ‘think about if this was your own sister being treated this way’, or ‘that could be your mother’.  How about we just teach people to treat others with respect and dignity because they are someone? Maybe because they are a person? This leads me into the Orlando shooting and the devastation it continues to create in so many lives.  How about, regardless of sexual orientation or any belief on anything for that matter, we respect that person, simply because they are human?  Due to the situations currently in the media we target men – and yes, a heck of a lot of rape and sexual violence has occurred from men – but we must not forget that everyone needs a good reminder.  Whether we are male, female, or identify somewhere in between, we all deserve respect and dignity, but we must also give that same respect and dignity to everyone else around us. 

When people talk about what fathers should teach their sons, it shouldn’t be limited to just men teaching boys. My dad has taught all three of us a lot.  We have grown up learning respect, honesty, trustworthiness, and how to treat other humans.  Not once was it separated because someone was a male or female, or believed in something maybe we didn’t.  It was simply because they were another human being and deserved it.  I am forever grateful that my dad, and my mom for that matter, has been a role model in this, which has allowed us to become educated members of society who have compassion for all.

I know it sounds easier said than done, but if we all took a minute to treat more people with respect and dignity, and maybe because they are another human being, this world would be a little bit of a brighter place. Of course I would be naive to think that we can solve all of the world’s problems this way, but starting these discussions can help kickstart these changes among not only our sons, but our daughters, mothers, fathers, and every other human on this planet.  We all deserve it, because we are all someone.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

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