Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

While I have never had a father so never had occasion to tell anyone Happy Father's Day, after being married to the hubby for so long, I have come to realize how very important fathers are.  Growing up we lived in an area that was mostly single mothers and the occasional father (who would usually show up when they got out on parole so, uh, not much of an example of fatherhood there).  But now that I am surrounded by men who are good examples of fatherhood, I see that fathers are necessary to set good examples for their children (not that women aren't awesome at being single parents but there are some things that only men can teach).  Examples:

  • I still remember when hubby's boys came to live with us when they were around five and eight.  They would watch him then copy the way he walked so that they "would walk like men."  Before then it had never occurred on me that this was something boys couldn't really learn from their mothers.
  • Ditto for how to treat a lady.  To this day his boys always open doors for women, have never raised a hand to a woman, and have learned how important the phrase "happy wife, happy life" is.  I am very proud that they have turned into exceptional husbands and leaders in their own family and I attribute this to the example their dad set for them.
  • How to take risks and do stupid stuff that mom would never approve of.  Anthropologically women are much more risk-averse and safety conscious than men (it goes into brain science and--long story short--men will take risks that women wouldn't dream of taking).  So while I would always hover over the kids and want to protect them from every possible thing that could harm them, hubby would cheer on their idiocy (fortunately on one was ever seriously hurt).  When I saw this video I had to laugh (mostly because the kid was unharmed) and chalk it up to dad doing stuff that a mother would never do which the kid then thinks is the coolest thing in the world while mom wants to ban him from being in the same zip code as his kid....such is life...with father.  I am not keen on admitting this but I think this kind of risky behavior with your kids is necessary (although it is, again, something mom would never do).
  • Genetics can be a shocking thing.  Or maybe it is part of the nature vs nurture thing, but it is eerie how the boys act like their dad...everything from the tone of voice they use with their own kids to the way they argue with their wives, to their subtle "I am the man of the house" attitude, to their penchant for having the same quirks and habits as their dad....eerie.
  • Dads can instill a level of confidence in their boys that moms can't.  Moms do a great job of trying to do this, of course, because they realize how important confidence is but it comes more easily with dads who don't give as much thought to it as moms do yet are still able to somehow teach their kids to be confident in their abilities and confident in the decisions they make.  It really is something to behold when one of the boys would jump in and do a task (working on a construction project, fixing a hole in the wall) and say "don't worry, I'll take care of it" which would leave me amazed at their can-do attitude.
  • Dads are important to daughters as well. All of the things listed above have impacted hubby's daughters as well.  He was the one who taught them to drive, he is the one they go to with a problem when mom's (or my) advice just won't do, and he is the one that they hold out as an example of a good man.  With dads and daughters there is a less obvious, but equally important, role that dads play in their daughter's lives that can't be replaced by anyone else.
So Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there--your contribution to your family and most especially to your children should not be underestimated.

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