DAD: What Fatherhood Means

Fatherhood is a wonderful adventure. You will never regret embracing it! (Image: Pavel Losevsky)

Just like Mom, Dad has a day all to himself. That day is Sunday, yep Father’s Day is here again. To be honest, I debated doing a Fathers Day post. Not because I feel it doesn’t deserve special attention, but rather because, as a father, it seems a little self serving. Finally, because I am a father, I decided to do something a little different. Let’s just say that this isn’t going to be about making a Fathers Day gift. There are plenty of great sites out there with wonderful ideas already. If you still need ideas, How Does She? has a rather nutty gift idea, Crafting Chicks has an amazing photo card craft and Alpha Mom has some great card ideas. I am pretty sure I can’t offer anything better.

No, this post is about Dad.  It is also for Dad.  I am not an expert, but I do have some experience under my belt.  What better time to share some insight into being a father than on Father’s Dad.  So, this is what being a father means to me.  For a little background, let me say that I have been blessed.  I grew up with, and still have, a wonderful father / mentor / friend which I call Dad.  I am not sure why God decided to create me into the family He did, but I am eternally grateful.  Because He did, my father was the single most influential person in my life.  If you read this Dad, thank you for living out fatherhood for me.  I love you!

Dedicated:

A father is dedicated.  He is dedicated to his family.  This means that as the head of the family his greatest priority, behind his relationship with God, is the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of his wife and kids.  If this sounds a little heavy, well, that’s because it is.  As a father I spend much of my time working to meet the needs of my family.  This includes everything from giving my wife an evening “off” now and then for some self-time, praying with my wife and kids one-on-one, working to provide the physical needs of the family (and/ or enabling my wife for the SAHDs and two income families out there), helping our kids with homework or projects and everything in between.  Men, you understand that if you are not fully dedicated to a project or a goal it will most likely not get completed or it will be done poorly.  We must be dedicated to our families if we wish for our families to remain healthy.

Affectionate:

This is one that we men have the hardest time with.  None the less, a father is affectionate toward his wife and children.  We need to demonstrate how to love and romance our wife as much as we need to demonstrate how to encourage and support her.  My son will learn how to treat women by how I interact with my wife.  My daughters will form their expectations of how a man should treat them by my example as well.  If showing affection isn’t part of our daily life then how will they learn?  Will what they learn be healthy?  Most likely not.

Showing affection to our children is just as important as demonstrating that affection toward our wives.  Children need to be told and shown they are loved.  A father’s love for his child is void of stipulations and clauses.  Yes, there will be times when I am disappointed or even hurt, but love needs to be unconditional.  This type of love and affection toward our kids give them great freedom.  It allows them to reach further and risk more knowing that failure will not affect their standing.  If we truly want our kids to be free to accomplish great things they need to know they are loved no matter what.

Deliberate:

A father is deliberate with his family and leadership.  It took me a while to learn this.  To be honest, I am still very much in learning mode.  After all, as my kids continue to grow and I continue to grow with them.  The basic idea is that family doesn’t happen by accident.  As a father, I am responsible to teach and train my kids in the behaviors and personality traits I want them to exhibit as adults.  If I desire that my son be chivalrous I need to be deliberate in modeling and teaching what that entails.  If I wish for my daughters to be self-sufficient, I need to be deliberate in teaching them skills that will make them so.  If I wish for my kids to grow up and live with integrity, respect, and honor, well, I need to be deliberate in training, modeling and encouraging those traits.  My son won’t learn to open doors and give up seats by accident any more than my daughters will learn to change a flat or balance a checkbook by accident.  I have the awesome job of being deliberate in teaching and training my kids.

Deliberateness is much larger then just skills and traits though.  It permeates all aspects of fatherhood as well.  If I wait for fatherhood to happen, I will wake up one morning to realize it has passed me by.  In the same way, if I wait for my marriage to happen I will never be happy with where it is at.  To a large degree, this is where we make the decision on how we are going to spend our time and resources.  Fatherhood, just like motherhood, requires deliberate actions.

I will wrap this up by saying I love being a dad.  It is by far the most important, demanding, exhausting, frustrating, joyous, and fulfilling responsibility God has given me, and I am grateful.  I know that I will not be a perfect DAD.  The only perfect DAD is our Heavenly Father.  All I can do is look to at my Father’s example and continue to grow into my role as DAD.  This Father’s Day, along with the gifts, cards, cookouts, and hugs, let you father or husband know they are appreciated, respected, and loved.  Believe it or not, that is really all we want anyway.  Do you have a story about your dad?  I would love to hear how they lived out being a DAD.

This post has been shared @ Fatherhood Friday, Finer Things.

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