Hallmark Holidays

About those Hallmark holidays...

My Mom hated them. She saw the game for what it is - Hallmark and other retail businesses exploiting some important piece of our lives for profit, manipulating us to try to make us feel bad if we don't fork over a whole lot of a cash to prove that we love someone while they laugh at us, all the way to the bank. Capitalism at its worst.

My fiance agrees 100%. He doesn't want to be specially acknowledged on Father's Day for doing the Dad things that he does purely out of love and dedication. He treats his mother and I extra sweetly on Mother’s Day because he knows it matters to us, but he doesn't appreciate economically-driven social pressure.

I see where they are coming from, and I don't exactly disagree.

H O W E V E R...

We in the U.S. live ridiculously crazy busy lives. We don't take a month long holiday each year like many Europeans. We don’t take afternoon breaks the way people in very hot countries do. In many US industries, working less than 50 hours a week puts you well behind on the ladder climb to success. Those of us who are fee-for-service and self employed often don't even take that expected week (and certainly not two weeks) of summer vacation.

As a nation, we are not good at stopping, recalibrating, and reconnecting with what is most important to us. We do not do balance well.

We also get so insanely busy and stressed and cluttered that we forget to tell our loved ones that we love them. We neglect to actually communicate to them that we appreciate their efforts both big and small, and that we notice and care that those around us are a blessing in our lives. I've been working with couples and families as therapist for about two decades now. Trust me when I tell you: We frequently lose the people who mean the most to us because they do not feel seen, appreciated, accepted and loved.

We frequently lose the people who mean the most to us because they do not feel seen, appreciated, accepted and loved.

So I will be wishing a very Happy Father’s Day to my fiance, and to my stepfather and father. I will help my daughter and my stepson-to-be in any way they need, so that they can adequately celebrate the Dads in their lives. I do not care that the retail industry will benefit from our efforts. I am not doing these things because of some strange atmospheric pressure or ad campaign. I’m doing this because Dad-dom is vitally important and intense work. The Dads who are putting in the work should be seen and celebrated both for their own sakes and to solidify that we as a people value the importance of fathering.

Whatever the original catalyst may have been, I am happy to take this opportunity for our family and our culture to celebrate the people around us, and to remember how important they are.

Happy Father’s Day, gentlemen. I salute you.