Father's DayAs we approach Father’s Day, I am thinking of my father that died 30 years ago—and the man who became my Father through marriage.

I think of those Fathers, Uncles, Mentors, and Peers that have helped me to become “me.” Yes…I am flawed in many ways – yet I am stronger due their guidance and valuable lessons they shared with me along the way.

My Father is succumbing to life and the disease that has invaded his body. As he approaches the end of his journey with us, I realize that love unbiased and nonjudgmental was his gift to me. Thank you, Father, for your time and patience.

But, as I write these words, I know that loss will overshadow anything profound that I can state. The hurt will affect the way I relate to others, the decisions I make, and the course of the day…even at the age of 49.

The children at Wolverine Human Services experience the same.

As we contemplate our own relationships on Fathers Day, please be mindful that our children in care will be dealing with the joy, pain, and loss of their own relationships.

Behind smiles, angry eyes, and inappropriate actions, there could be a yearning for a Father; one present, missing, or unknown. Sometimes the yearning is for a Mother who acted as both roles.

As our children cope through this emotional time, be ever mindful that they may be grieving their own loss, feeling shame of what may have been endured, and regretful of dreams unmet.

During this time of year, please celebrate the joy that fathers and parents provide—but remain sensitive that each person’s journey is different. Provide an extra hug, a listening ear, and a moment of kindness.

As we celebrate the love of Fathers this weekend…lets take it further and celebrate compassion, tolerance, and understanding for all.

Most importantly…let’s celebrate who we are and the sometimes painful but always beautiful journey that we share together.

Tom KrolickiThomas Krolicki, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, is Vice President of Development and Community Based Programs at Wolverine Human Services. Tom has over 28 years of administrative and clinical service experience with a special focus in policy and program development, legislative action, and advocacy for children and families involved with Michigan’s Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Mental Health Systems. Tom is also highly invested in the development of new social workers and is a field placement advisor with several Universities and Colleges.