Norton: Hats off to mothers, fathers, father figures and grandfathers everywhere

When it comes to celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I always get the sense that we have it backwards. Instead of the parents receiving gifts, breakfast in bed, a round of golf, flowers, or anything else from their children, as parents we should be celebrating our children on that day.

Some will say that our children receive gifts, clothes, vacations, and other things throughout the year already, this day is to celebrate and recognize the parents. My experience tells me that we buy our children what they need, give them a bit more or extra at the holidays and birthdays, but we do that because they grow and need new clothes and shoes or some other necessity. For some it goes beyond necessity, and they just simply enjoy splurging on their kids.

When I think of the upcoming Father’s Day and all that it will bring, I am reminded of what an incredible gift and blessing I was given in my children. They are all grown and older now and some with children of their own. And they are all scattered around the country raising their families and building a life. And they will send me cards, gift cards, or gifts, and we will speak by phone or FaceTime. But for me, I am recognizing and celebrating them, and thanking God that he trusted me enough to raise and take care of my children.

My biological father died when I was only five years old. I had father figures in my uncles and other adult men and coaches. And I had a grandfather who was an incredible example of a loving father and grandfather, a devoted husband and a strong Christian. And I can remember him celebrating myself, my siblings and my cousins. He was always encouraging, always teaching, always willing to play. We were his gift, and he made it abundantly clear just how important we were to him.

There are so many amazing moms out there who are celebrated on Mother’s Day. There are many who are single moms and serve as both mom and dad at times. Sometimes on Father’s Day, the children do not remember to celebrate their mom on that day too. The single mom steps up and many times goes beyond just being the father figure or role model for her kids, she does everything she can to guide her family to the best of her ability. And I have met and heard from so many over the years that they understand just how precious life is, and how they feel too blessed that God trusted them with their children.

This Sunday we will celebrate Father’s Day once again. Having written this column for the past 14 years, and having heard from so many in the community, I know that many of you have reached out and have sent me emails about your children and how much you love them and try to do your very best to guide them through this world. And many of you send me emails with the awards, trophies, or recognition your children have received. Please don’t stop, I love receiving those.

What I wanted to pass along this week as we and all of our families prepare for the weekend, is to think about it slightly differently. Think about the challenges, heartburn, headaches and anxiety our children give us sometimes, and then stop and reflect on the joy, pride, love, and just how thankful and grateful we are that they are the reason we get to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the first place.

How about you? Are your making room in your sock drawer for some new socks? Cleaning out your golf bag for those new golf balls you will receive? Or are you taking a moment to celebrate your children, grandchildren, and any child who looks up to you as a mother or father figure? I would love to hear your story at and when we let our children know just how much we love them, it really will be a better than good life.

Michael Norton is the grateful President of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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