Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thoughts on Father's Day

My father wasn't a good father or a good man.  Not by any stretch of the imagination. 

The first real father figure I accepted, honestly, was the third husband of one of my aunts, and his presence in my life was fleeting.  I'm still not sure he was a very positive influence--one doesn't typically split a large bottle of tequila at eighteen with their parents, after all.  But he did teach me that a good marriage needs to have two equal partners, and one adult.  It's why he and my aunt are no longer married.

The next father figure I had was the head of the English department I started my undergraduate work with.  He's no longer the department head, much to his joy--he hated the admin work, and missed teaching a full load.  I'd say he taught me my joy in learning, but I already had that.  He certainly reinforced that joy in learning, though.  I still visit with him as often as I can make it to campus.

My father-in-law is kind of my go-to father figure, now.  He's probably the best role model of being a good dad I've ever met in my life.  He taught Odysseus a lot, but the most important thing I'd say Odysseus learned was how to be a spectacularly good dad to his own children.

Dads are important.  Without a good dad, a daughter will find herself either terrified of men, or looking for the kind of male guidance and approval she needs from any guy that comes along--not a good thing.  Without a good dad, a boy will have a hard time growing into a good man.  Most of the time, in such a case, a boy simply won't grow past the whole "it's all about me and what I want" that every child exists in.  It's up to dads to model for their sons how to grow past that into a responsible, caring person that can, in turn, become a good dad to their children.  It's up to dads to raise their daughters into strong, confident women who know what to look for in a spouse and parent for their future children.

Society acknowledges how important moms are to children's development, but still doesn't recognize exactly how critical dads are.  It's something that needs to change.

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