Mommy Shorts is proud to partner with JOHNSON’S® for a series of posts leading up to Guncle’s Day on August 14th, which celebrates the important role that many gay uncles— or guncles— play in the lives of their siblings’ and friends’ children. Every parent has extended family members and friends who contribute to their children’s growth and development and this series aims to recognize the special people who help our children thrive.

When I think about the major players in Mazzy and Harlow’s lives, they are more than just me and Mike. They include extended family, close friends, teachers, counsellors and babysitters. I am not the only person who has raised my children or who will influence their decisions in the future.

They say “it takes it village,” but that’s only part of the story. Whether your kids have other caregivers or you attempt to do every bit of upbringing on your own, your children are exposed to countless influences, most of whom have something positive to teach.

A few of the things that Mazzy and Harlow have learned from “their village” so far:

From my mother, they have learned that being generous with your time is one of the most important things you can give another person.

From Grandma Toby, they have learned that being thoughtful, remembering the little things, and recognizing even small accomplishments can make a person feel loved and special.

From Ruth, our longtime nanny, they have learned that being gentle and patient goes a lot farther than being demanding and rude.

From my dad (aka Poppy), they have learned that you can dream big and build things from scratch.

From my sister, they have learned that articulating your feelings accomplishes more than screaming and crying.

From my brother-in-law, they have learned that acting goofy and singing boy band songs is something adults like to do too.

From my friend Seri, they have learned that every event, no matter how small, is an excuse to celebrate.

From my cousin Gabriel, they have learned that becoming great at something doesn’t just take passion, it takes lots of practice.

From our friends Dave and Steve, they have learned that families come in many different forms and love is what matters.

From my friend Emily, they have learned what strength and resilience looks like.

From my stepfather Sam, they have learned to treat everyone you encounter, from your mother to your server at the restaurant, with respect.

From my friend Lucy, they have learned to always keep their door open to good friends.

From Harlow’s preschool teachers, they have learned that familiar rituals and traditions bring comfort.

From Mazzy’s 2nd grade teachers, they have learned that individuals have the power to change the world.

I could go on (and I’m sure a few people will remind me that I forgot someone), but instead I’d like to turn it over to all of you…

Who in your world has been a big influence on your kids and why— a guncle, a grandparent, a teacher or otherwise?  Leave your story below and I’ll be sharing my favorites in an upcoming post later this month. And don’t forget to celebrate Guncle’s Day on August 14th!