“Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough.”
—Robert Downey, Jr.
When is National Sons Day?
National Sons Day falls on September 28.
What is the significance and history of National Sons Day?
National Sons Day has taken on new meaning as we head into the third decade of the 21st century. The #metoo era is long overdue — and society can no longer overlook the importance of raising our boys with this in mind. The good news? A crucial national conversation has begun — finally.
Parents of sons today face challenges that seem so obvious — yet no one saw coming. Who could have predicted the stunning downfall of so many of America’s most famous and powerful men in so little time? The list of names sent shock waves through the world of entertainment, media, tech and politics. And no one knows where we’re headed next.
One thing’s for sure — it all starts with teaching (and modeling) respect.
Here’s lifestyle writer (and dad) Christopher Dale in a recent article for Motherly: “Parents of boys are in a precarious position, one where the rules of inter-gender engagement seem to be in constant flux. As society understandably amplifies the voices of accusers, we find ourselves raising the potentially accused.”
Accused and accusers. That’s a lot for our kids to handle. So how do moms and dads navigate these treacherous waters? There’s no simple answer. We’re in uncharted territory here — and this discussion needs to go on for as long as it takes. Preparing our boys for this will require a level of guidance and communication that our predecessors in parenthood could never have envisioned – and that we ourselves have yet to fully grasp.
Molding our sons into responsible men can either be seen as a perilous journey or an opportunity to grow as a human being. On National Sons Day, every September 28, we think about our boys and the legacy we leave behind as parents. More than that, we take the time to listen to our boys — to hear their dreams or fears and thoughts on changing the world. We all have a role to play. Men and women. Educators. Professionals at all levels.
Aside from that, men have struggled with a stereotype of showing strength without fear or compassion. Luckily, as society incorporates “emotional” equity in the workplace and at home, we’re all redefining what it means to be a good son — and a good man.
Let’s have meaningful conversations with our boys on National Sons Day.
Related: National Daughters Day
What are the best ways to celebrate National Sons Day?
Enjoy a healthy breakfast: Start the day off right by enjoying a healthy breakfast with your son. Three Bridges Egg Bites is offering a free Egg Bite to provide the healthy start to the day Americans are looking for while easily fitting into their busy schedules.
Stress gender equality: Make it clear that what each of you does as a parent is determined by your individual skills, interests, and what works best for the family — not your gender.
Encourage a #metoo conversation: Spend time discussing the recent events surrounding this movement. It’s imperative that boys grow up with a healthy respect for both men and women. Parents — especially dads — need to model this behavior at every opportunity.
Oh — and have fun! Despite the very serious times in which we we find ourselves, let’s not forget to enjoy the day. Only you know what your boys need most on National Sons Day. Make sure to include family, friends and community. And their favorite ride!
National Sons Day timeline
Ludwig van Beethoven's father, Johann, attempted a musical career, but we all remember his son, Ludwig, as one of the all-time greatest composers.
Robert Darwin carved out a successful career as a physician, but his son, Charles, changed the course of history — and gave lots of credit to his father.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote of his father's influence: "[He] had a great deal to do with my going in the ministry. This is not to say that he ever spoke to me in terms of being a minister, but that my admiration for him was the great moving factor. He set forth a noble example that I didn't mind following."
Hollywood's Shining Sons (and Fathers)
Mr. and Mr. Smith
Will Smith's talented son, Jaden, has worked as an actor, singer, and model. GQ once dubbed him "a "superstar who has taken fashion to an entirely different level." Jaden on his famous dad: "He started in music and transitioned to movies. I started with movies, and then I transitioned into making music. I look at him and use it as a blueprint of how good of a person he is, but not necessarily the success that he reached."
Actor Martin Sheen is the proud dad of three sons: Emilio Estévez, Ramon Estévez, and one boy who can be a bit "problematic": Charlie Sheen. (Check out Dad in "Apocalypse Now." You might think it was Charlie himself if you didn't know better.)
The family that gigs together...
The incredible jazz and classical trumpeter as well as all-around Renaissance Man, Wynton Marsalis, came by these gifts honestly — gigging with his pianist dad, Ellis Marsalis, while growing up in New Orleans.
What to do when your dad practically invented an entire musical genre? Check out Bob Marley's son, Ziggy, who released his seventh solo studio album in 2018. He wrote, recorded, and produced the entire album — which received rave reviews upon release.
Douglas family dynasty
Michael Douglas labored for years to distinguish himself as an actor apart from his famous dad, Kirk Douglas. According to Michael, who has his own distinguished career, it isn't an issue anymore. Well stated.
Actor/director Clint Eastwood has not one but two sons who are making noise in entertainment; Kyle is a renowned jazz bass player and brother, Scott, is turning heads as an actor.
Why We Love National Sons Day
Boys to men
National Sons Day reminds all of us to set high standards for our boys. Gender roles are shifting faster now than ever before. The day presents an opportunity for parents to take the lead on this.
From Dr. Meg: "While a mother’s encouragement for her son is most effective in the form of emotional support, a father’s encouragement is most effective in the form of words. A father’s words hold all the power to make or break his son."
Kindness and sensitivity
We can't stress this enough. Let's make a pledge to make National Son Day a time to reevaluate what we're teaching our boys. The next generation of men depends on our success as parents.