Friday, June 16, 2006

It Should Be Dads Day

-It doesn't take much in the way of brains or character to be a father. Being a dad means something. You probably know what I'm getting at...but allow me to explain anyway.

There are millions of fathers breathing the air on planet Earth. Many are also dads. Being a dad, at least to me, implies that a man has actually invested deep emotion in the lives of those he has fathered. A dad is a nuturer, protector, provider, and leader. Dad is a term of endearment, reverence, and respect.

While some, who are more formal with the language, also use father in such a way, I think most would agree that father is a more generic term describing one who has, through sexual intercourse, helped create a new life. In fact, one of the definitions of father in the dictionary is the male parent of an animal. Yes, another definition is one who begets, raises or nutures a child..but the common usage of father seems to be more parental than emotional. But, enough of the technical stuff.

Dads are the ones who should be honored and recognized. Dads take pride in everything about their children. They are the ones who unconditionally fall in love with their babies, and who enjoy watching, and helping, them grow into representatives of their families. Dads are the teachers, role models and, more often than not, loving husbands. They are the ones committed to family...and understand that families, and the loving relationships in them, are what produces our strongest, most productive, and most well-adjusted young people. Dads would run through brick walls for their kids. Or at least try. They would gladly die if it meant their children wouldn't have to. When their child calls him dad, dad always gets a charge.

Then there are the fathers who never understand what being a dad is all about. They relentlessly seek out the opportunity to engage in the "fatherly act", but never own up to the consequences of it. They may have many children, but never get to know them. They are more interested in themselves, and their next conquest, than the lives of those they have helped to create. They aren't there at the hospital to feel the joy of holding a newborn in the delivery room. They aren't there for the melancholy of the first day of school. They miss the first tee-ball game. The first communion. The confirmation. The graduation. The emotion of letting go at the wedding. What sad, and hollow individuals... these disconnected and confused fathers.

It has been my extreme pleasure and honor to be a dad and a husband. My life as a father has been so much more joyful, painful, emotional, rewarding and, in the end, valuable and enjoyable because I have attempted to be a dad for my sons. I am thankful that my dad, and his dad, taught me what it's all about. They set the right example. I always wanted to be a dad like they were. I hope I have come close. I can't imagine life any other way. I just wish more people in this world could understand the joy that is being a dad.

As long as there's going to be a somewhat manufactured holiday to honor fathers, let's remember to honor those who have at least tried their best to be dads.

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