After losing my father to cancer in 2002, every time I tried to do a Father's Day lesson with my students afterwards, was extremely difficult. A lump would rise in my throat and I would have to hold back tears when I was asked how I would be celebrating my Father's Day. Keeping it professional and in simple terms, I would explain to the kids that my father wasn't around to celebrate with me, but he would be remembered.
In my capacity as a teacher and then as a young adult without a father, I realized how important Father's Day can be, but not necessarily for fathers only. Teaching in a neighbourhood where mixed families is commonplace and single-parent households are not unique, it made me realize even more so that Father's Day is a day to celebrate the elder males in one's life. It can be an uncle, a grandfather, a brother, a cousin or anyone who has made a significant impact on your life. It's a day to spend time with those who guided, listened, and mentored you, whether it be a father bound to you by blood or not.
As teachers, we are quite aware of this and make a conscious effort to let the students know that Father's Day cards and crafts are for the dads, but if "Dads" aren't in the picture, then any father-figure in their life is just as worthy and important of recognition. As a friend or neighbour, be sure to speak sensitively of this day because you never know who the father is in one's life.