Host Dad Heroes: Father's Day Edition

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s . . . a HOST DAD!  He may not wear a cape or fly through the sky, but nonetheless, host dads are nothing short of amazing. 

And while the whole superhero thing may be a little overdone these days, when it comes to communicating why we talk about host dads with such thankfulness and appreciation, sometimes the word “superhero” just fits.  But it isn’t the only word that does.

2 teen girls and host dad posing like spies

You see, the roles that host dads hold can be described using a wide variety of culturally relevant examples:  The competitive chef on your favorite cooking show, the home renovation expert, the comic relief guy in a world filled with drama, and yes, even a favorite superhero (complete with theme music).

But see, that's just it.  A host dad is oftentimes a little bit of all of those things--and a lot more--all rolled into one.  And often, there are critically important bits and pieces of himself that our exchange students see which never make it into social media posts or blog articles.  

family and exchange student at airport

Like when an exchange student gets picked up at the airport for the first time, and his new host dad makes sure to grab the overweight luggage, the stuffed carry-on, the jacket and the water bottle, all the while making sure he gets to the car first so he can unlock the doors for everyone before they get there.  He serves.

teen boys and host parents with college mascot statue

Or the time at the family barbeque when the new exchange student sits off to the side a little, maybe bored, maybe feeling isolated and alone, and your friendly neighborhood host dad leaves his favorite spot behind the grill to go over with a smile, offer a soft drink, and ask what, if anything, is similar to an American “barbeque” in the student's home country.  He engages.

selfie of teen girl and host dad

And what about the time he shows up to watch his host daughter cheer at her first football game?  You know, the game he said he couldn’t be at because he had to work.  But he found a way to be there.  And he didn’t do anything but cheer, just like all the other dads.  But his exchange daughter saw him.  He shows up.

host dad and cheerleader

That’s why we refer to our host dads the way we do, with words like awesome, excellent, and amazing

And it’s also why we thank them on Father’s Day.  

host dad and graduate

Honestly, sometimes it’s hard for men to get to the place where they feel comfortable opening their home to a foreign student that has to learn all those unspoken family rules from scratch.  

And it can be even harder to open their hearts to those same students.  For crying out loud, sometimes it’s hard for anyone to open their heart to people they’ve known their whole lives, much less to an exchange student from halfway around the world!

But when a host dad does……  it’s pretty, well, super.  

teen girl and host dad wearing heart glasses

I hope this little explanation helps us all better understand exactly how important and involved our hero host dads are. 

And to all of our host dads, this Father’s Day, we just want you to know…  We see you.  Seriously, thank you.  You are truly appreciated. 

And just remember, with great exchange students comes great responsibility.  But that’s ok, you’re up to the task. 

After all, you are…..  THE HOST DAD!  (cue your theme music!)

Tags: Host Families, Exchange Student, Youth Exchange, Host an exchange student, Host dad

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