A friend told me a story. His father said, “Son, do you think I care if you love me? It only matters that I love you.” The friend was shocked at his father’s cavalier attitude toward reciprocal love. An an adult, my friend greatly appreciates his father’s wisdom. Fathers are here, if for nothing else, to love and protect their children. It matters little if the love is reciprocated. Children will love you one minute and hate you when you seize their favorite toy or restrict their free time. However, a father’s devotion is not dependent upon whether his child or teenager considers him to be his “best friend.” Most children do not appreciate the wisdom behind a “no” to a party or thing that will harm them. Yet, it is the father’s duty to protect his children from danger. Much like soldiers who vow to protect the United States from enemies known and unknown, so too is the role of a dad. Fathers represent a wall of protection for their children.
A father is the necessary part of a two piece parenting jigsaw. Perhaps, it is the ying-yang aspect of the male-female figure or the different perspectives and emotions both sexes bring to life. Whatever the reason, a father’s importance goes beyond just being the sperm that fertilized the egg. I stand only 5’7″, but my two children see me as a giant. I am the first male to impact my son’s life. How I behave, as a man, husband, and father will influence how he behaves when he starts his own family. My mere presence in his life is comforting and a validation of his manhood. Likewise, the same is true for my daughter. My relationship with her mother will color how she views relationships between men and women, husbands and wives. If I am abusive, she may very well internalize abusiveness as acceptable. If I am loving, she will understand that as an integral component of a successful relationship.
This is not to say that single moms cannot raise good boys and girls. I was raised by three women, my mom, aunt, and grandmother. Countless single mothers and grandmas raise good sons and daughters. However, that does not mean that a fatherless childhood is optimal. Even in cases where couples divorce, it is imperative that a father figure is present. As a father, I have grown to appreciate the times I spend with my children. I once asked my daughter, a perennial Disney World attendee, whether she prefers going to Disney World or going bike riding with daddy? Daddy: 1, Disney World: 0. This is the power of fathers all around the world.