By: Gregory W. Slayton, author of the global bestseller Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs that has sold 250,000 copies worldwide (BeABetterDadToday.com). He and his wife give all royalties to fatherhood and family charities, including the Fellowship of Fathers Foundation.

If you’re like most Americans – you celebrate Mother’s Day in a big way. And you should. A loving and devoted Mom is so important in the life of her family – she literally is irreplaceable. That’s why Mother’s Day is so important…as it should be.

Unfortunately Father’s Day isn’t celebrated by near as many Americans as Mother’s Day. And with the rate of fatherhood failure rapidly increasing in our country…that is understandable. But it is also a mistake. A loving and devoted Dad is also irreplaceable for a child…and the research on that could not be clearer. Children growing up with their fathers are much more likely than their less fortunate peers to graduate from high school (and college), hold down a steady job, be happily married and live a long and productive life (and those are just a few of the myriad ways that an actively involved dad makes a big difference).

But perhaps like me you didn’t have a real dad. My dad abandoned my brothers and me…and told us explicitly not to call him, write him or contact him in any way. He told us he would disappear…and that was one promise he kept. That’s a pretty good reason not to celebrate Father’s Day…and for many years I didn’t.

But as I grew older I began to understand more fully the vital role of fathers in helping prepare, shape and ready the generation of tomorrow. As I studied fatherhood on five different continents…and then began raising the first of our four children with my wife Marina…I saw firsthand the power and the promise of fatherhood.
Father’s Day isn’t just to say thanks to your biological dad (although that’s a great thing to do if you can). It is a great day to celebrate good dads all over the world…starting in your own neighborhood. Maybe you had a step-dad or a mentor/father figure who helped you on the road of life. Or maybe you know guys in your community who are role models for young men who don’t have a father in their lives. Certainly you know some good dads, men of character, competence and commitment, who live on your block or in your neighborhood. Please take a few minutes to thank them this Father’s Day, because we need to celebrate good Fathers.

Our world celebrates sport stars, movie stars, TV stars and those who have lots of money, fame and/or power. But are these the real heroes? Usually not. The real heroes in our communities are the dads (and moms) who help get the next generation ready. Without these men and women – there wouldn’t be a next generation.

So let’s celebrate Father’s Day…and the good fathers in our communities that take the time and make the effort to be the best dads they can be. Thanks for being a dad. It’s the most important job that any of us men will ever have.


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