Wow…that word strikes a chord in my heart. I am looking around at all the young men around me and I swallow the tears on the inside. My heart weeps because I don’t know how we will recover the generation of young men who have been raised without a solid male role model. I also cry when the girls around me are imbalanced because of the absence of the same solid male role model. There’s no shortage of female role models showing the girls how to do it and challenge the boys but there are serious gaps.
Fatherhood is more than the ability to make a girl pregnant though we so often make it just that. Fatherhood is so much more than that. Many of us have our biological fathers alive and well and we love them but their lives haven’t added very much to our own lives. Others have the most amazing and engaged fathers while others have none at all, yet we all need the presence and love of our fathers.
My position is that a father doesn’t have to be biological to help someone become all they can be. I believe a father needs to look after their child either birth or taken in and see who they can be and then do all they can to help the ‘child’ reach there. Over the years I have seen the importance of a demanding father who will settle for nothing less than my best. In some of my most unsettled moments, my Daddy stepped in and would not relent until I was on the right track. I must admit that he has been tough on me when I was slacking off and spinning my wheels. He has also been the smile, word of advise or hope and hug to remind me that he loves me unconditionally.
In the hardest times when I shared all the foolishness I had been up to that was holding me back, I learnt what unconditional love really meant. He dealt ruthlessly with the foolishness but gently prayed for me to get back and remain on the path. He was careful to remind me that only God can lead and guide me to remain true and I must lean in.
I have learnt that a father is a friend, confidant, disciplinarian, priest, prophet, mentor, and guide. He is no holds barred, honest, true and passionate. He is the vision builder extraordinaire, work ethic trainer, focus driver, greatest example and just a man. He sets the pace for how his son’s and daughter’s function in the world, relate to work, interpret the world. He is a strong hand, a still voice of correction, a smile of compassion, a soft apology, love personified, grace to rise and strength to never give up.
A father is about loving & raising strong balanced children, living by example; real conversations about real issues. He deals with each child individually with the right pressure, exposure, conversation, dreaming…pushing. He is unashamed of his faults because he understands that failure discussed and assessed produces greater growth. He knows that his children stand on his shoulders and they need a full understanding of life.
He is just a man, led by God and raising the needed champions to change the world
Thank you to all the fathers working hard to raise their children. To all these men; I celebrate you.
Above all, I celebrate my father because he has re-written my understanding of fatherhood and raised me to be a better version of myself.