Father’s Day 2013
I am a father of three children who are now adults with children of their own. I was one of the lucky fathers as I had a career that allowed me time with my children. I was also a lucky man as I had (and still have) a wife that didn’t get in the way of my being a father to my children.
As I drove to a medical appointment to deal with my seasonal allergies a few days ago, I got to hear of a determined movement to do away with Father’s Day. The rationale was that for many children, the lack of a father in their lives caused extra pain on this day. I am sensitive to the idea of not causing our children unnecessary emotional harm, but in my opinion, this crosses the line and causes more harm.
All children have fathers. Not all children have fathers that are present in their lives due to a number of factors. Regardless of the choices made, and sometimes not made, the creation of a child still needs to have a father and a mother.
Though all children have fathers, not all of these fathers take an active part in the lives of their child(ren). Some never become aware of the fact that they are fathers, a choice made by the mothers of these children, or by other authorities who are either directly or indirectly the decision makers. Some fathers never survive long enough to take on the role of father for a host of reasons. And, others simply make a choice for reasons which in the end, only they know. That said, most men do take on the role of father with their children and do the best they can.
Like everyone else on the planet, I have a father. I use the word “have” even though he died twenty-five years ago. Regardless of whether he was a good father or not, I exist because he existed and contributed to my conception. Without him, I simply wouldn’t be here writing this blog post or sharing photos of my own state of fatherhood. It might not seem like much of a role, but perhaps it is bigger than one would care to admit in our modern times.
Was my father a good man? Is any man or woman a good person? I would have to say that in the end, it doesn’t matter if we judge our fathers or mothers good or bad. He was my father. I can create a victim state for myself, or I can take full responsibility for being a man in my own right. Life happens to all of us. There are no promises or guarantees that it will be what we want or think we need.
We are each born with only one guarantee – we will die at some point in time. Nature doesn’t promise us a home, parents to guide us, enough food, a life of safety. Life just is and it isn’t about fairness or rights. I used to blame my father for so much. I learned that he did what he could as a flawed person, the best he could as had his father before him.
That was a vital lesson to learn as it allowed me to be less harsh on myself as a father. I know that I wasn’t as good a father as I wanted to be – my history got in the way, my insufficient consciousness got in the way, life got in the way. But, I did what I did because it was what I could do. My son does what he can do as a father as do my two sons-in-law as fathers. And someday, life willing, my six grandsons will also have the chance to become fathers and do the best they can as fathers.
To all men who are fathers – Happy Father’s Day!