First, Happy (Grand) Father’s Day to all papas, grandpas, granddads, or whatever other names you grandfathers might be called. You deserve to be recognized for the contributions you make in your children and grandchildren. Enjoy every moment you get to spend with them this weekend and going forward.

But this Father’s Day message is a bit bigger: Grandparents, are you father-encouragers? Could you be?

Sometimes we see news stories or social media posts involving a man out on a date with his daughter. Many of us have seen those situations in restaurants, especially in February. Often the daughter is in a pink dress, bows in her hair, and the dad is in a suit he probably wears once or twice a year. But it always looks like a great time. The dad is asking his daughter questions, investing that time, making her feel special.

What makes the story even better is when someone else gets involved, like one story from a few years back. As the dad and daughter were eating, an older couple walked by and slipped a note on the table next to the dad, then kept walking. Here’s what the note said:

Hi there!
Sorry to spy, but my husband and I saw you out with your little date and were so impressed with what a great dad you are.
From two adults who grew up without dads, it’s so important to have a male role model at a young age.
Keep up the good work, dad!
Dinner is on us!

Then, here’s what the dad wrote when he posted a photo of the note online:

As a single dad, I took my six-year-old daughter out to Valentine’s dinner tonight when this happened. I won’t lie, I teared up at the table. So, thank you, random strangers. Thank you.

We need to hear about these kinds of “random affirmations of fatherhood” more often.

Another dad was at a quick oil change station, waiting in the lobby with his young son. The dad was just trying to keep his son somewhat busy and content while they waited on the car. But an older gentleman walked up, handed the dad a couple dollars, and said, “Here, treat yourselves to some ice cream.”

These are simple gestures that carry a powerful message:

Dads spending time with their kids is a good thing, and is worth affirming.

It’s especially true in today’s world, where being a dad is challenging and all dads can use some affirmation and encouragement now and then. And Father’s Day is the perfect time to do this.

So, grandparents, do you see this as a role you can play? Maybe, like the couple in the story, you also grew up without a dad, so you know how important dads are to shaping kids into healthy, responsible adults. Or maybe you had a great dad and you’re trying to carry on that legacy.

Whatever your motivation, the obvious place to start is with your son and/or son-in-law. Maybe you could give him a gift card for a restaurant, arcade, mini-golf course, sports event, or something else he and his kids enjoy. Or make it a three-generation guys’ outing, with grandfather, father, and child. Or brainstorm as a couple or with other grandparents about ways to encourage your grandkids’ fathers. Then consider extending the kindness to other young dads you know.

A little affirmation goes a long way, and there are lots of dads out there who need it.

How do you encourage younger dads? What other ideas can you add to what’s above? Please share your thoughts and experiences on our Facebook page.