Dads Matter

Today is Father’s Day and I have enjoyed spending it with my wife and daughter.  You just don’t truly understand your capacity for love until you have a child.  Being a parent opens some chamber in your heart not otherwise accessible, and it is a big one.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I found out quickly I had no clue what I was doing. I’m very lucky my wife is an amazing parent and partner, so I don’t have to try and figure all of this out myself.  I think having both parents involved in a child’s life is extremely important.  I also think the role of the father has been greatly diminished in modern society, which is a major problem if you ask me.

Before I go any further, let me say I have nothing but respect for single parents, male and female.  I honestly have no idea how you do it.  In the worst of times, when our daughter was sick and I was nearly sick myself with worry, I had her mom to share my concern.  I can’t imagine having to deal with all of the things coming at me on a daily basis by myself.  So please, do not take anything I’m about to say as any sort of criticism.  I personally think kids are better off with both parents in the home. They need a father who is involved in their daily lives!

The importance of a father’s role has been marginalized in many ways by modern popular culture.  Fathers are too often portrayed as goofy, lazy, stupid, or worthless.  Even when dads are portrayed with a good heart, its often tempered with some sort of craziness.  That’s wrong.  I think the father has a critical role to play in raising well adjusted children, both boys and girls.  How is a young boy supposed to learn how to be a man if he has no guidance from one?  Naturally, there are many versions of what it means to be “a man” and I have my opinion on that, but I won’t venture onto that slippery surface today.  Boys need to know that its OK to be a strong man and to do manly things.  They also need to know it’s OK to show their emotions, and how to treat women as ladies even if they aren’t acting like ladies.

A positive male role model is just as important for girls, if not more so.  A positive male figure teaches young girls how men should behave.  A father should show his daughter how she should be treated by the males she will encounter in her life.  Our relationship with their mom will form the model for their future relationships, for better or worse.  If you aren’t their role model, they’ll find one.  Who do you see on TV or in movies today who you’d want to fill that role?  I sure can’t think of anyone.  Kids pay attention to everything, whether you think they do or not.  They see how you behave and will learn from it.  What they learn then, is up to you.

Dads, don’t let anyone tell you we aren’t important.  We are!  It’s up to us to teach our children the important things we know.  It’s up to us to give them the confidence they need to succeed in the world, to teach them kindness and humility, to be strong, to work hard, and to enjoy life.  Take your kids hunting, fishing, or bowling. Take them to the library, the chess club, the science fair, or the dance recital.  Take your girls to the gun range and take your sons to dance class if that’s where they want to go.  Be there and be involved in whatever they’re doing.  Our kids and our society are counting on us.  I honestly believe a big part of the craziness we deal with today, like the whole ‘which bathroom do I use?’ issue, is due to a lack of proper male role models.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, including those of you raising kids by yourself, kids you adopted, kids who came to you through marriage, or kids you’ve just mentored by being there.  Almost any male can father a child, but it takes much more to be a dad!

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