This weekend it’s time to celebrate Dad! He’s the man who taught you about tough love, but he also was the rock foundation that kept the family safe. For his sons, Dad demonstrated how to be a man; for his daughters, how they should be treated by their future husbands.

It was the battle for the definition of family and marriage that brought me to Massachusetts Family Institute in the middle of the firestorm created by the Supreme Judicial Court. As a father and grandfather, and as a pastor, I know how critical it is for a child to have a mother and father united in marriage. Even in families damaged by divorce, having both the male and female influence is vital to a child’s development.

MFI continues to work at the State House and beyond to strengthen families and keep our values front and center in all policy debates. At a time when fathers are being increasingly marginalized – unlike the good old days of Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, and Father Knows Best – now more than ever we must make sure fathers know their role and the importance of staying engaged in the raising of their sons and daughters.

To all the dads and granddads reading this, thank you for what you have done to raise the next generations. To those not yet fathers, thank the men in your life who have made you who you are today. Continue to watch and learn from them because soon you will be carrying the torch!

Happy Fathers Day!