There are so many memes on the internet that talk about what it takes to make a good father. They talk about what a good father is and what one isn’t. Blood is not thicker than water. Being present is all that is necessary to be a good dad. You can find contradicting ideals on it anywhere you want to look. I think the meaning of the word “father” has evolved over time. Our family dynamic has changed so much in the past 50 years and because of that the roles family members play has changed too.
It use to be unheard of for a mother to lose custody of her children and yet even before that if there was a divorce a mother would not be allowed to have her children because they were almost considered property. Today there are so many single fathers who are stepping up and being the responsible party. Many moms are relinquishing rights for their own reasons. There are still “deadbeat dads” everywhere and there are still so many single mothers who are struggling but today a family is not what it once was. Nuclear families are a dying breed.
Families are mixed with step-parents, grand parents, adopted parents, foster parents, uncles, aunts. There are so many dynamics to families today and because of that the roles are changing. A father was looked at as a lesser role player in children’s lives for so long, but I think today that there are Great fathers out there who are stepping up. These are the ones who are setting the bar. I know that there are so many out there who are not doing their part. Children are being abandoned and neglected and it is a horrible detriment to their future and the future of our society, but we can see that it is not just men who are doing these things. The good men are out there and they are becoming stronger role models for their own children. They are building an ideal of what a father should be.
Having a child is not always a choice that a person consciously considers especially not for women. For men it is an easier decision making process because they can choose to be present or not. A woman has to wait at least 9 months before she can choose not to be a part of her child’s life. For men they can make that choice earlier and in many ways it is a much easier choice. It is not a morally right choice but it is a choice nonetheless.
I have heard people talk about how a good dad is one who is in their kids life. To me this is a very low bar to hold any parent at. All I have to do is show up? All I have to do is drop in here and again and I am considered a decent parent? Why is that? Do you think that if I were to drop in once a week and spend an hour with my child that they would feel that would be enough? We are allowing these children to be under-loved by giving parents such low standards. A father is not a father because he is present here and now. A father is a man who guides through consistency. A father teaches his children from his own mistakes. A father strives to grow and be a better father every day. A father sacrifices his desires so that his children can have better lives. A father chooses to make the hard decisions for his children. A father is a man in front of his children so that they can never question what a man is made of. A father does not have to be blood. A father is any man who loves and adores a child and protects that child over all else.
All parents are fallible. We are all learning and we all make mistakes. Women are no better than men when it comes to parenting. I know women who gave their children up so that they could live a life of parties, alcohol, drugs, and meaningless relationships. Our children deserve more. We need fathers who stand up for their children and we have them. They are out there. The world is full of those who are lacking and we tend to focus on those, but the world is also full of those who surpass. Great men are all around us. They are the ones who step up and step in when another man chooses the selfish lifestyle. They are the men who see need and neglect and choose to help. They are the men who long to provide for someone who has never known kindness before.
Thank you for being a man in a world of boys. Thank you for sacrificing and for standing out. It is easy to choose your own desires and dreams. It is never easy to give them up so that someone else can reach for their own. This is for all the real men who don’t hear it enough, but you are the future of our world. Keep on teaching your children so that our future can be full of hope.