Father figures come in a variety of forms. There is everything from the traditional “Leave it to Beaver-”type, granddads, uncles, step dads, and even single moms who assume both parental roles. We all know it takes more than a sperm donation to earn the honorable title of Dad.

Father figures come in a variety of forms. There is everything from the traditional “Leave it to Beaver-”type, granddads, uncles, step dads, and even single moms who assume both parental roles. We all know it takes more than a sperm donation to earn the honorable title of Dad.


Having a healthy male role model is just as important as having positive female role models in our lives. Gender roles are typically created in early childhood, while gender expectations are recreated continually throughout developmental years, often subconsciously creating a paradigm in which we adults emulate.


My Dad, now 84, had to move into  full-time medical assisted living, as his mental and physical being deteriorated. Our family is hyper-aware of the preciousness of time spent with loved ones, and we are blessed to reminisce about fond memories while he is still with us. The egalitarian relationship he shared with my mother was, in retrospect, my first introduction into feminism. I grew up in an environment where the woman was an equal, while simultaneously being appreciated for her individuality.


When I met my husband, after being a single mom of three, I realized I not only found a partner for myself, but an amazing Dad for the kids.


I asked each of our five kids to give me a single word to describe their Dad.


Stephanie, age 22, exclaimed “Awesome!” Jimmy at 19 quickly answered “Hero.” Middle child Joey chose “Reliable.” Rachel, age 7, said she needed three words, “mostfuntimes.” (She swears it a word). Our old-soul 4-year-old Annabel simply said “Love,” with a huge smile on her face.


As Father’s Day approaches, please take the time to acknowledge the dads, grandfathers, papas, uncles and other men that have been an admirable influence on you, your children and on your community. It can be as simple as finding one descriptive word. Make it personal. Make it sincere. Happy Father’s Day to my dad “Papa” Lee Schofield, the love of my life, Jason, and also to all the great dads … and single moms!


Dianne McDonald is a working mother who lives in Marshfield, Mass., with her husband and five kids.


The Patriot Ledger