Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Role of a Father

Today, at church, my pastor started a series with the above title. He spoke about how fatherhood is becoming synonymous with absenteeism, neglect, and disappointment. All men are called to be fathers, whether they have biological children or not. There are too many children without fathers who could use a male role model in their lives. A father is more than just a man who is in the house. Physical presence does not make you a father. A good man is going to be a good father even if he doesn't live in the same house as his children.

A father sacrifices for his children.
A father is an example to his children. He realizes that his daily life says more than any words he could utter.
A father is a leader.
A father loves his children unconditionally.
A father is a protector. He equips his children with tools to help protect themselves even when he is not around.
A father is not perfect, but he strives to be better each day.

A lot of people seem to think that boys need their fathers more than girls. I can understand that viewpoint, but I know from first-hand experience that girls need them just as much. A woman can't teach a boy to be a man. She can tell him what she thinks and try to push him in the right direction, but it takes a man to show him how to be a man. A man also has to show his daughter what to expect from a man. She has a harder time finding a good man if she doesn't have a good example. Women shouldn't have to find a man. Women are supposed to choose the best suitor, but these are perverse times.

Most of my female friends have serious relationship issues with males that can probably be traced back to their dysfunctional relationships with their fathers. Some people choose to acknowledge the challenges of their past and move on. Others find it a little more difficult. Deep down inside we hope that we will meet someone who sees the baggage and the effort that we exert to try to eliminate it.

My relationship with my father is basically nonexistent. I don't fantasize about having a perfect relationship with him. I can't change him, and I know that. I am disappointed, but that seems to have been the theme of our relationship for as long as I can remember. It's not his fault that I have a hard time trusting people (especially men). Maybe he has a hard time trusting too. I'm afraid that I will be like him.

I choose to be different.

I remember
When you used to take me on a bike ride every day on the bayou
(Remember that? We were inseparable?)
And I remember when you could do no wrong
You come home from work
And I jump in your arms when I saw you
(I was so excited)
I was so happy
(So happy to see you so happy to see you)
To see you
Because you loved me
I overcome
And I'm so proud of what you've become
You've given me such security
No matter what mistakes I make you're there for me
You cure my disappointments and you heal my pain
You understood my biz and you protected me
You treasure every irreplaceable memory
And thats why I want my unborn son
To be like my daddy
I want my husband to be like my daddy
There is no one else like my daddy
And I thank you for lovin me(daddy daddy daddy)
- Beyonce

I cried the first time I heard this song because I couldn't say that it was true for me.


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