Dads are More Than What's On the Card

This Father's Day celebrate dad's profound impact, not just his hobbies

By Aaron Seligman, publisher of Macaroni KID Madison, Wisc. June 13, 2024

I rarely get a store-bought greeting card for Father's Day. Instead, I’m infinitely happier with the art projects and cards my kids make me.

That's partly because I'm in line with with comedian Jim Gaffigan’s take on buying greeting cards in general "hey…that’s something I’d say…I’ll just add my name at the bottom." 

But it's also because many of the cards I see in the store portray Dad as a guy who likes to:

  • Work with power tools
  • Fish
  • Watch TV/nap on the couch
  • Or all of the above in some sort of Homer Simpson, Family Guy's Peter Griffin, or other cartoon/sitcom caricature combination. 

And it goes without saying that all of these activities likely do not frequently involve being with kids.

But that’s not me. It never has been. I genuinely like being with my kids. The cartoon dad I aspire to is Bluey's dad Bandit Heeler. In this regard, I'm not alone.

I’m a dad that's more about getting outdoors, cooking, and exploring a new place — all things I like to do with my kids.

And that’s good because I’ve accepted that I have zero mechanical skills. (Fortunately, my father-in-law is pretty good at that stuff. He puts the grill together. I cook on it. We're a good combination.)

The author with his own father and his daughter.

A day to celebrate a father's profound impact

But it's not hobbies or interests that are the most central or important part of being a dad. Instead, I feel teaching a child how to be caring and empathetic is one of the most important roles for fathers — and it should be celebrated! Father's Day should be a special occasion dedicated to recognizing the profound impact fathers and father figures have on children's lives. 

Some fathers may have different hobbies or interests not typically associated with traditional notions of what being a "dad" is.  And that's perfectly fine. Father's Day should be a time to honor and appreciate the unique qualities and contributions of all kinds of dads and father figures.

So, this year, I hope we can move beyond the stereotypes and celebrate the incredible range of fathers and father figures who love and care for children. Whether that means they enjoy power tools and fishing or art and cooking — or any other pursuit — all dads deserve recognition for the love, support, and guidance they provide. 

But no matter how you show that appreciation, my advice is not to depend on a store bought card to do it. 

Aaron Seligman is the publisher of Macaroni KID Madison, Wisc.