What It Means to Be a Dad 1

June is Father’s Day month. A whole lot less is made of Father’s Day than Mother’s Day in May. Not surprising, since who was it that gave birth to us and did most of the heavy lifting and nurturing during our early years? Mom did. Besides (and this may sound sexist, but who cares?), you better be nice to the women in your life or life will not be worth living.

However, overlooking the incredibly important role played by an ever present loving and supportive father is a huge omission. Far too many adult men and women have failed to some extent in their lives because their father was not present emotionally or was gone altogether. If they have overcome the absence of their father’s support and love, it is only because they have fought mightily to do so.

From a personal standpoint, when I went through a divorce while my three children ranged in age from 6 to 13, the main thing I tried to hold on to was my relationship and love of my children. I was very frightened that I would lose all that and also cause irreparable harm to their emotional well-being. Was I perfect in my quest? Not really. As one would expect, there were plenty of ups and downs. But we did make it through. They are all grown up, successful and have kids of their own. I hope they learned from my mistakes as well as what I also did right. The constant was that we remained FAMILY and Dad was there when needed.

Men very often think that because they work hard and are successful financially it is an excuse for not being there for much of their children’s development… school, sports, music lessons, recitals, science projects, helping with math (I hated geometry), just reading a book with them when they are young… and some of the unpleasant things like illness or problems at school. Mom cannot and should not do it all. Dad should not tune out.

Please do not think that what I have just written is bragging. I am just grateful that I kept it together and made it through. There are far too many men who fail as fathers. Sometimes they do not even know it when it is happening. They are there physically, but not emotionally. So, we need to be there for our children at every level. Sometimes men need to remind themselves to do it. Go for it guys!

Happy Father’s Day!