What it takes to be a father

Fatherhood is not a matter of biology.

It’s a matter of dedication, attitude and a life’s choice to realize that, no matter what the world says, role models do matter.

To be a father is about love. That’s a tricky subject in a world where men are portrayed as aloof, athletic or just plain clueless.

But there must be love in a father’s heart because from the day his child is born, or the day he embarks on taking on stepchildren, he is destined to try to be the model of knowledge and perfection, despite perhaps not knowing enough except how imperfect he is.

He is destined to face situations that would cause him to fly off the handle, at least at people who aren’t his children, but in his heart he knows patience must rule the day.

He should be tough enough to apply discipline, but gentle enough to know when it’s best to be a disciplinarian.

He should be gentle enough to provide a kind word after a child has a bad day in school or at home plate or with a boyfriend or girlfriend, no matter how awful his own day has been.

He must instill good values, a good work ethic, a thirst for knowledge, and then one day he’s got to allow his children to move on into the world to make their missteps, despite his best efforts in their upbringing.

Fathers must be in turns baseball coach, football coach, basketball coach, mechanic, dance and vocal instructor, math expert, carpenter, school principal, referee, financier, psychologist, therapist, religious educator, fighter and lover, boss and employee.

He must listen, but he’s got to know just the right words to say when it’s time to speak.

He’s got less margin for error than a NASA flight controller, but he’s got no handbook, no rules, no guides, only his instincts and, if he’s lucky, a template from a prior generation.

A man who chooses to try to be all of that must be full of love.

If your father has played and is playing an important role in your life, tell him thanks today. If your relationship with your father isn’t all you hoped it would be, a possible route to improvement would begin by trying to figure out how you would deal with all the pressures of the job of father.

No, not all men are meant to be fathers. There are those who ruin the word “father” for the rest of men who try their best.

Honor those who try their best today.

Happy Father’s Day.

COMMENTS