Blog Entry by Intern, Zachary Funaro
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
— NASA astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
National Son’s Day is celebrated on September 28th each year with the sole purpose of recognizing the importance of what it means to bring up honorable, kind-hearted young men into the world.
Raising young men can be challenging as boys are faced with a number of obstacles and pressures that are put on them from societal expectations. On son’s day we celebrate these fine young men and parents are given the opportunity to guide and encourage their sons in the most positive manner to allow them to be successful in life. The bond between parents and sons can be an invaluable tool to offering a safe, nurturing relationship.
History & Evolution:
Officially established in 2018 by Jill Nico, National Son’s Day is a great opportunity to allow open dialogue between parents and sons about topics that historically, as well as culturally, have often been neglected or gender stereotyped as being “not manly.” Some of these topics include education, mental health, and emotional well-being. When sons are offered an outlet for their feelings, as well as parental figures who provide emotional guidance, nurturing and responsible young men can flourish in life.
Many saw the need for a son’s day dating back to the 1990’s, when the National Son’s Day group formulated the “National Take Your Sons to Work Day” in 1998. Eventually, the two groups merged together creating National Son’s Day in 2003. This was in response to an already established group called “National Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” Society finally felt that sons needed to be recognized as well.
National Son’s Day was revitalized in 2018, as social media celebrations became popular and sons were given special accolades for what makes them unique, trustworthy and cherished. The love for sons grew immensely on this special day and it turned out to be a great source of confidence for many young men across the world.
The Importance of National Son’s Day:
The importance of celebrating National Son’s Day is to show the world how much society, family, and parents appreciate and love their “boys.” It allows parents to let their sons know they are worthy and a blessing to all who come into contact with these beloved young men. As parents, high standards are set into raising sons and a source of pride is established when sons are sent off
into the world and become strong leaders, and even better father figures. It is essential to dedicate a day to sons as it can solidify the relationship between parents and sons.
Communication can be open and welcomed as sons are given an open space to share their fears, regrets, and worries. Parents are better able to help their sons thrive in a competitive and challenging environment that is often presented to them in today’s world. In the past, gender roles have hindered this for men and boys were brought up thinking emotions and “talking it out” was an inferior trait that represented weakness. National Son’s Day breaks down gender stereotypes and inspires security with emotional talks that encourages bonding with parents. When a son knows they are loved, and in a comfortable, safe space they are better able to handle the pressures that life throws at them and they choose to be responsible decision makers.
Ways to Celebrate:
Celebrating National Son’s day can involve a variety of fun, easy going activities that promote bonding time between sons and parents. Sons are made to feel special and this quality time allows parents to shower their son with love and affection.
This will help boost trust and can involve an activity such as a favorite sporting event, a meal out, or a simple walk in the park. Walks can encourage conversation, while sporting events will allow for talks concerning defeats and painful losses that sometimes happen in life. Other fun activities may include escape rooms, intricate obstacle courses, or outdoor hikes and even zip lining. Many of these activities assist with team work and collaboration where both parents and sons have to work together to come up with ideas to solve or tackle a difficult task. It’s a fun way to make the parent/son bond stronger as sons are able to see that they are listened to and their opinions are valued. It also allows parents to find joy in the strength and perseverance exemplified by their sons.
On a Personal Note:
I have always been proud to say that I have parents who support me and guide me through all the obstacles I have faced in life. They have reassured me that they will be present through all the hardships and good times life has to offer. I feel that National Son’s Day is celebrated every day when you know all it takes is a phone call to your parents to feel the love and appreciation only a strong parental bond can provide.
As a military family, we traveled extensively overseas and our travels took us to some very remote, exotic places. Our relationship became stronger as we always knew we could depend on each other and our experiences were always so exciting and opened our minds to diverse ideas and cultures. To this day, I still look forward to travels with my parents.
It could be as simple as going to see our favorite football team, the Steelers, play or an adventurous trip to Europe. We enjoy each other’s company and as a son, their guidance, comradery, and support has enabled me to be a better person.
I look after others and I am highly empathetic. I choose to nurture as needed and to be a responsible friend and citizen, as I was brought up to be. My responsibilities as a son is reflected in my upbringing. I look after my little sister and give her guidance when she feels lost. She knows I am here for her if she ever needs anything and to be a safe, comforting presence in her life.
Just as my parents were to me.
Wrapping up Thoughts on National Son’s Day:
National Son’s Day should be celebrated each year as it brings awareness of how much sons are valued as strong pillars of our community. Just as daughters are given a day that encourages love and open communication, sons should also be given the chance to openly and publicly feel the pride, support, and affection given to them by their parents. Our society tends to neglect the emotional well-being of males.
Sadly, males have been negatively stigmatized when feelings and emotions are involved and as a result, their mental health has suffered. I encourage all readers of this blog to celebrate the notion of “sons” and to be there for all young men that need to express their emotions, fears, and challenges in a healthy and productive dialogue. Once that is celebrated, may we all raise boys that turn out to be confident, happy, and responsible men of society.