Today, we celebrate Flag Day; a day honoring one of the most recognized and revered—hopefully—symbols across our nation and throughout the world. On June 14, 1777, our country adopted the stoic stars and stripes not only to signify our great country, but the unfailing courage of those who defended it throughout the years and those who continue to do so every day. What does the American flag symbolize to you? A home to teach your children values that will help them persevere and preserve the great heritage and freedoms found from sea to shining sea? Does it inspire you to honor the sacrifices of your ancestors, who not only discovered America, but devoted their lives to its preservation and progress? Whatever the flag means to you I hope you never forget the true beauty of that bold banner flying overhead. May we each honor our freedoms and our country with love and loyalty and cherish our choices that are ours, every day.
There is another symbolic flag we honor on—and hopefully after—Sunday, June 18th. Its meaning is more patriarchal than patriotic, but it’s still very special and instrumental in each of our lives; the flag of fatherhood. Fathers are about more than titles, ties and tools. They teach us, even when they don’t think we’re looking or listening, about what we can be and should be and how to be successful, even when imperfections and mistakes are just a normal part of the job.
Unfortunately, the flag of fatherhood no longer flies as high in some of our homes, but we can still remember what it means to have that beloved banner in our homes and in our hearts. Some men may be the very first to raise the patriarchal pennant in their homes, or may be the needed influence in the lives of those whose fathers have stopped waving proudly for their own families. What flags have your father, or other great men taught you to honor and fly high in your life? Have they taught you how to show respect to others, to defend the weak, honor and cherish womanhood, and the value of hard work? I’m thankful that my father taught me these things. He may not always think so, as most fathers think at times, as they wonder and worry if they were enough. But for me, my father is worthy of raising high the flag of fatherhood.
This week, let us unfurl our personal banners and strive to live better as fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. To all fathers—past, present and future—you got this! You don’t have to be perfect. Just be there and enjoy any moment you get with your children. Those moments make all the difference. To my own father, I say: A lot of people count on and look up to you, but none more than I do. I am honored and proud that you are my father.