Father, or a father figure, is generally seen as the source of tough love. He tempers kindness, protection, sage advice and a steady hand with the periodic threat of a backhand.
The awful father examples become big headlines and fade. Examples of great fathers are what last, stay with you and define what it means to be a father. As it is Fathers Day, we’ll avoid reflecting on those bad apples and their prison-worthy poisonous behavior.
In the past, fathers were expected to be the provider. They were expected to have a plan, know where, when and even how. Ward Cleaver also knew how to be encouraging, how to reason with and nurture the Beaver. And he knew how to give that encouraging nod and that comforting pat on the head.
While most men can become a biological father, procreation has nothing to do with building a strong family unit. Being responsible or becoming someone a child can look up to means being consistent, and it means being relentless in a positive way.
Too many fathers only get on-the-job training, and not enough new fathers have the right role models to use as an example. Our hereditary conditioning should kick in and guide us to appropriate fatherly traits.
The best dads are the ones that show up, provide stability and are a constant and active part of their children’s lives. And being a father doesn’t end when a child is 6, 16, 26 or even 56. It should be commitment that goes beyond, and is a lifetime influence even after a father has passed on.
Happy Fathers Day to all those fathers who strive to make a difference in the lives of their children. You are the backbone of the world.