I hope that your family takes time to celebrate with dad on his special day. Not a day goes by I don’t think of my own father. Even though he’s been gone more than 10 years, I appreciate the role model he was to our family. A hard working farmer, he was totally outnumbered with a wife and three daughters. He taught us a lot of things and provided the opportunity for us to attend college. He even took the time to be a 4-H community club leader for many years. He was a wonderful caregiver to my mother for the 30 years that she lived with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease.

It is so refreshing to see fathers who have become more involved with their families beyond the role of breadwinner. I saw it in my husband, John, and now in our son and son-in-law, Adam and Art. Taking the time to develop and nurture relationships with children pays off big in the end. Children with active fathers develop skills they can carry into adulthood. Self-esteem soars when dads are active participants in their children’s lives. Children come with their own unique personalities, temperaments and developmental timetables and dads are an essential link to a child’s well-being.

As we celebrate dads for all they do or have done, it is important to be mindful of the influence they have on positive youth development. Summer often provides additional opportunities for families to spend time together. Family vacations and backyard barbeques are perfect events for family bonding and creating happy memories. However, dads who do not live in the home do have to be more intentional about creating and taking advantage of opportunities to spend time together. With blended families, scheduling and personality conflicts between adults can create barriers.

A gradual cultural shift of permissiveness toward single parenting can sometimes give an impression that fathers don’t really matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fathers play an important role in the development of their children and families. Studies show that children with involved fathers are more successful in school, more ambitious, more self-confident with their identity, self-protective and self-reliant, less likely to drop out of school and less susceptible to peer pressure.

So take time to celebrate dad this Father’s Day.

Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent and District Director with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or dkrug@ksu.edu