Father and son
Father and son

By Molly Butler

My parents always taught me that love is a verb. A continual choice you make. You decide to love, and you continue deciding to love through the hard times, through tears, through disagreements, through highs and lows. Richer or poorer. Sickness and health. Love is a verb and must be made into action over and over. It’s not 50/50. It’s 100/100.

I think dad is a verb too. Being a father isn’t just a matter of biology. It’s a role you must choose to fulfill. It’s a challenge you must rise to meet. There aren’t a certain number of diapers to change, a quota of ball games to attend, or a percentage of tantrums to tolerate. Being a good dad is not an award you can give yourself; it’s a truth you must choose to live and earn. There is no clocking out. There is no shiny trophy at the end. Real dads are unconditional.

I am lucky to have been raised by a father who always went above and beyond. Fishing, hiking, teaching me to throw a ball. Spending patient hours on my bedroom floor helping me through my first game of Pokémon on my Gameboy Color. Sleeping on the couch to help us catch the Easter Bunny. Helping with science projects, teaching us about animals, plants, mechanics, design. Taking us tubing at the lake, always stopping the boat when my siblings wanted to hit a big wave, but I, the scaredy-cat, wanted out. He’d check on our stubborn loose teeth, saying, “Hmm, looks like it’s not ready to come out yet,” just for us to run to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and see he’d already pulled it out! How? Somehow, it never hurt when he did it. And the amazing thing is, he always seems to have extra love left over; for our friends with difficult home lives, for my college roommates when their dads were far away, and now I get to watch the way he loves his grandkids. There’s really nothing in this world like a good dad.

Love is a verb and must be made into action over and over. It’s not 50/50. It’s 100/100.

He didn’t just take care of his responsibilities and clock out; he loved all three of us in the unique and challenging ways we each needed. He did it without being asked. He did it out of love. I hope you’re as lucky. If you are a dad, I hope you choose to be a good one, and you choose it every single day.

Thank you, dad. I love ya. Happy Father’s Day.


Get ready for a full day of fun! It’s time for the 60th annual Hay Daze Celebration in Janesville, Minnesota. To celebrate this anniversary, all live performances will be free admission! Start the day with a Golf Tournament at the Prairie Ridge Golf Course. Author Kate Messner will host a writing workshop. There will be food stands, rides, balloon art, glitter tattoos and live music, including Generation Gap and IV Play.

Nicollet Friendship Days will be on all weekend long, kicking off Friday at 5 p.m. with food, beer stands and a cornhole tournament. Check out their website for details.

A to Zinnia Flowers and Gifts of New Ulm is celebrating the summer solstice with a flower crown make-and-take. There are adult and youth tickets available for 1-hour timeslots. Tickets are available here. If you want to learn more about the Summer Solstice, attend VINE’s class on the astronomical and cultural facts of the holiday. The class will take place from 1-2:30 p.m. Just register online.

It’s the last weekend to check out Faster Than Speed at the 410 Project in Mankato. James Mackey’s paintings are on auction, with proceeds going to benefit the ECHO Food Shelf.

The Wine Café on Riverfront in Mankato is celebrating their patron saint, Bacchus, god of wine and parties! Bacchanalia will kick off at 4 p.m. on Friday and roll all the way through Saturday. Check out their Facebook event for details.


Let’s get moving! Key City Bike is hosting a Summer Solstice Campout! Register online to join in. Meet at Key City Bike at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, roll out at 10 a.m., and riders will return Sunday, mid-afternoon. The ride is 20-35 miles one-way, and campers must bring their own food, water, camping gear and any bicycle tools they may need. The Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center is hosting its 10th annual Duathlon and 5k fun run! Register online as an individual or with a team.

Crafters and artists can try something new this weekend. The Grand Center for Arts and Culture in New Ulm is hosting a Barn Quilt Class. Register online to learn a pattern to paint on their 2’ x 2’ board using the colors of their choice. They will also host a step-by-step Children’s Learn To Paint Class from 10 a.m. to noon, for ages kindergarten and up. The Arts Center of St. Peter will have a two-week course on Tapestry Wall Hanging. Register here to explore dimension and texture using a tapestry loom and create an original weaving. Just bring a fork, ruler, scratch paper and writing utensil, and the Arts Center will provide the rest.

The Mankato Moondogs will take on the Rochester Honkers starting at 6:35 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato. Get your tickets here!

As always, I recommend ending a Saturday with some live music. You’ve got a lot of great choices this week. Get your tickets for Aaron Lewis and the Stateliners at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater from 5:30-7 p.m. Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery continues their Un-WINE-d series from noon to 3 p.m., and the Wine Café in Mankato will host Davina and the Vagabonds as part of their Bacchanalia Festival. Another Time Around will perform from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery in Janesville. Ledfoot Larry will be at Mully’s on Madison starting at 8 p.m., and Red Dirt Road will be performing live outdoors at the Lakes Bar and Grill in Lake Crystal beginning at 8 p.m.


Morgan Creek Vineyard of New Ulm will host Sunday Yoga & Brunch with Kelly Holland. Come from 10-11 a.m. for a mindful yoga session and a light brunch beneath the majestic oak tree. Brunch will include Morgan Creek Myst, a perfect summer treat. Get your tickets here.

Moondogs will take on the Rochester Honkers again at 5:05 p.m. at the Franklin Rogers Park. Grab tickets here to have a ball!

There’s still time to pack more live music into your weekend. Jim Lenway will perform James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel and more, from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville. The Bockfest Boys Trio will be at the Schell’s Biergarten from 1-4:30 p.m. in New Ulm. From 3-6 p.m., you can catch Day Pass at the Landing on Madison, and Tony Sammis will be at the Westwood Marina Bar and Grill from 4-7 p.m.

Bonus: Walk the Walk

As someone without children, it’s a little hard for me to weigh in on parenting issues. I can only speak from what I’ve observed and experienced in my own life. But I have to say, leading by example and being a good role model for your children seems to be a huge part of parenting. Children can pick up on hypocrisy. If you say, “Eating healthy is important,” but rarely eat nutritious meals, you’re not really teaching them. Talking the talk must be accompanied by walking the walk.

Children need parents who are complete people. They need parents who work through their issues, take responsibility for their lives and can lead by example. They need parents who can apologize, change, grow and be respectful. If you want your children to understand the importance of hard work, you must work hard. If you want your children to have certain values, you must also live by those values.

When you take better care of yourself, you are better able to care for others. Whether you’re dealing with parenting issues, relationship issues, or just going through hard times, make sure to make yourself a priority, do the honest work within, and you’ll be better equipped to share your growth and energy with others.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.