This month Father’s Day is celebrated on Sunday, June 16. Father’s Day is one of these “one-size-fits-all” holidays that can be joyful for some, stressful for others.  Not everyone had a storybook relationship with dear old Dad. Some still grieve a departed father.  Others are just joining the ranks of fatherhood and stepping with trepidation into big shoes they pray they can fill.  Nonetheless, no matter what the status of your link to the paterfamilias, Father’s Day provides a day to celebrate the importance of the men in our lives.

In the past few decades, the concepts behind “father” have changed dramatically.  Some of us are old enough to remember there actually was once a TV show called, “Father Knows Best,” and the title wasn’t meant to be tongue in cheek.  Today, the growing realization that women have often suffered discrimination in our society has also made us reexamine the role of dad, sometimes to the detriment of his image.  Does he earn more than mom?  Is he okay if he doesn’t?  Is he doing his share of the housework?  Is he more sensitive with mom and the kids than we used to expect?  Does he change the diapers more than his dad did?  It’s been an evolution, and in many ways a revolution. Roles have changed. 

In an effort to avoid the “little woman” caricature, TV ads and programs often make mom strong and dad rather silly.  What kind of dads do the media promote today?  Not always the greatest.  At the same time, households are increasingly headed by women with no man around.  This does not bode well.  Dads are extremely important and needed for children, both girls and boys.  Even if “Dad” is grandpa or uncle, kids need good men in their lives. 

This Father’s Day, let’s pay tribute to the men who guided and nurtured us. Let’s keep in mind that wonderful image of fatherhood, St. Joseph, who quietly stood by a strong young woman and helped raise a strong son.  Let’s remember him awakening from a dream and taking charge of his family as he led them into safety in Egypt.  Let’s pray for all fathers and mothers, that the Holy Family might present them with an example of married partnership and total giving to each other.