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Today is Father’s Day, a time to celebrate the men who have played an important role in someone’s life.  Whether he is a dad, step-dad, caring uncle or concerned grandfather, men who love someone younger than themselves all display characteristics of “fatherhood.”

The concept of  “blood relations” has fallen away in the realities of today’s social and moral standards.  Adoption, same-sex marriage, and blended families make it almost impossible to adhere to strict bonds of blood.  That may have worked in feudal times, when life’s complications boiled down to survival with your “clan” but it surely does not apply in today’s world.

So that leaves us with the question of how to define “fatherhood.”  I think it boils down to this…if you are a man who has established an emotional relationship with someone younger than you, and you guide by loving advice, provide consistent, unwavering support and encouragement, then you qualify to be called a “father.”

But the best way to find out is to ask the other person.  You might be surprised by their answer!

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