Tend to Your Relationships: Fathers & Sons
By: Cassie Whyte
Happy National Son’s Day!
Today, September 28th, we at Men’s Health Network is celebrating National Son’s Day!
On this holiday, we acknowledge the joy that comes along with both having a son, and being a son.
All sons are gifts to their parents, as well as to the world at large.
Without a Dedicated Holiday
National Son’s Day seems like a fairly obvious holiday to celebrate, but this was not the case until it was officially founded, just five years ago in 2018. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have been around for over a century, serving as timeless traditions to celebrate the contributions made by all parents–on both the macro and micro scale.
During the 1990’s, an effort was made to encourage young girls to pursue their dream professions and careers. This initiative resulted in the now co-ed ‘Take Your Daughter to Work day.’ Establishing this holiday was a display of progress, operating on the underlying assumption that girls, as well as their male counterparts, should feel comfortable and supported in having professional ambitions. It was a huge step for young girls and women, but its creation meant that the only member of the nuclear family without a dedicated holiday, was the sons.
After Take Your Daughter to Work Day became a co-ed phenomenon, National Daughter’s Day was established in 2007 to celebrate the unique joy of having a little girl and their special role in the
family. It was not until a decade later in 2018, that advocates were able to officially create National Son’s Day, which puts young boys in the spotlight for a day, providing their parents an opportunity to express their love for their sons.
Falling Behind, But Not Alone
In the midst of the male loneliness crisis, young boys falling behind in both k-12 and higher education, and a general lack of community due to the digital age and other factors, young boys feel more isolated and disenfranchised than ever. National Son’s Day seeks to counter that sense of alienation by setting aside a day that particularly celebrates sons. Young boys may have a harder time overtly expressing their emotions and feeling a sense of togetherness, even within their immediate family.
It is essential to extend an olive branch to sons–to let them know that they are not alone.
There are hundreds of ways to celebrate National Son’s Day, and every family is different. The point of this day is to tailor it to your son and his personal interests. Say you have a son who is obsessed with football–you can take him out to throw some catch in the backyard, or even get tickets to see his favorite team play live! But not all sons are into sports. Perhaps your son has taken an interest in art. Maybe he likes to draw, build with building blocks, or really loves a particular video game.
You can buy him some new tools to help him express his creativity, or you can just set aside time in your busy day to partake in that activity alongside your son.
Recognizing the Role of Family Support
National Son’s Day was established to recognize the important role of a son in the family, but not to paint them as a monolith. Every son is an individual and his unique interests and talents should be fostered in a healthy, safe environment.
National Son’s Day is about showing sons that they are appreciated and seen, so that one day, they can grow up to be a good man to all of those around him and maybe even have a family of his own.
Ultimately, MHN has chosen to celebrate National Son’s Day today because it is our belief that all children, regardless of gender, need positive representation and reinforcement. But this holiday, specifically, should be emphasized at the time. Young boys do not feel as though the world supports their flourishing–it is our job to ensure that it does.