Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fathers are Important Too

Valerie J. Steimle

For the past few Mother’s days, I have been writing about the importance of Mothers. This is only slightly unfair as I have not said a thing about Fathers so with Father’s day coming this Sunday, I thought it only right to present my feeling in the importance of Fathers.

What most people don’t know is that to understand how the circle of a family really works you need the presence of the father. Imagine two sons living in two separate families. Two parents raise the one son and only the mother raises the other. All are good people and do the best that they can. The son with both parents have the example of a father who loves his mother and treats her well as well as the example of taking care of his own children, where as the other son has no example of what fathers do at all and grows up lacking something he never really had.

Tom Wolfe said it well from The Bonfire of the Vanities when he wrote this about fatherhood: “Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later... that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.”

Children need protection and Fathers are the protectors. With great protectors comes the feeling of security. With this security, there is great comfort in being able to communicate what you are feeling with your father, which builds a lasting relationship. Not everyone can do this even with his or her father still here but there are opportunities of bridging the gap of a relationship when Dad sticks around for the duration of a child’s life.

Teenagers might not appreciate what they have now, but wisdom comes with age and appreciation of a father’s sacrifice will surface eventually. Mark Twain said it perfectly: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

So let’s honor our fathers this Sunday with a card or phone call or both. If your father isn’t here then honor the one who is a father to you and be a great Dad to those in your circle of friends.

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