In a college bookstore, they had a shelf of mugs emblazoned with the school name and “Mom” or “Dad” or “Grandparent.” I’ll bet they have been selling this same style of mugs since the ivy first started growing on the side of the building.

Mom/Dad/Grandparent mugs are vestiges of a traditional school environment that is disappearing. Where are the mugs that say: Daughter, Step-Mom, Aunt or Husband in recognition of the non-traditional family and growing adult/graduate enrollment? Why isn’t the school courting Sister or Brother as a way to fuel their pipeline for future student populations? What about the mugs that use colloquial references to parents: Pops, Gramps, Nana or Momma? Or in languages that represent a large portion of their student body: Padre, Madre, Mare, Papi, Maman, Baba?

Today as we celebrate Father’s Day, think of all the dads who should be recognized, and also the other members of the family who support you. There may not be a mug for Step-Dad or Uncle, but for many people, those relationships have been invaluable. Raise whatever glass you have in a toast to them.


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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