Father’s Day

A Father, a Son, and the Next Generation

For 19 years I was lucky enough to celebrate Father’s Day from both sides of the holiday. Like a lot of things in life, I do not think that I appreciated how special that was until it was gone. I was a bridge between two generations, both shaping the man that I am today. Through that bridge flowed the lessons of the past and the promise of tomorrow.

Carl J. Petersen
Published in
6 min readJun 16, 2019

“Take This letter that I give you,

Take it sonny, hold it high

You won’t understand a word that’s in it

But you’ll write it all again before you die”

- Brian May, “Father To Son”

My tattoo in honor of my children

When my ex-wife and I were expecting our first child we did not find out the gender in advance and I have to admit feeling slightly relieved when the doctor announced that I had a daughter. I am not the type of guy who watches football on Sundays, plays basketball with his buddies, or participates in other types of “guy” rituals. It was bad enough worrying about the fragility of this little human, I did not want to also have to feel responsible for instilling his masculinity.

I settled easily into my new role as a dad. My daughter was an easy-going baby who grew into a tenacious, confident child (and then a strong, independent woman). As her personality developed I saw a lot of myself in her and we enjoyed a close bond. Ironically, she became the jock of the family.

Exploring Los Angeles with my daughter

My father and I had vastly different personalities, but sharing the title of “Dad” brought our similarities into focus. I always knew that my dad had a way of calming babies as our extended family’s growth can be traced by pictures of him next to each new addition. The effect was mutual. He was a man who was always on the go, but in these…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com