What is the difference? Are moms the caretakers while dads are the disciplinarians? Hence the infamous line: “Wait until your father gets home!” I like to think that we have gone beyond many of the stereotypical mother/ father roles of homemaker vs. breadwinner. I think many families I know have created their own roles for mother and father.
So while celebrating father’s day, I got to thinking: what does it take to be a father? Beyond the obvious medical definition, what does it really mean to be a father? One of the definitions on dictionary.com is: “One who cares for another as a father might.”
So, what does that mean? How might a father care for a child?
Neither of my boys have their dads in their lives, but I don’t think they lack for a “father”. There are plenty of people, both men and women, who love them enough to care for them “as a father might.” Friends, uncles, cousins, grandfathers, who have played the role of father for them.
Those who have roughhoused with them, and those who have hugged them.
Those who were there when they got hurt, telling them to shake it off or helping them up.
Those who have laughed and joked with them, and those who have supported them when others laughed or joked at their expense.
Those who have given them “fatherly advice” and those who have just let them talk.
Those who take the time to tell them when they are wrong and celebrate with them when they are right.
Those who care enough to worry about them, and love them enough to make a difference in their lives.
I think a father is all this and more.
I developed a very different relationship with my father through his love for my sons. It has been an enormous blessing for us to grow in this way.
When I look at my boys on this father’s day, I hope they take the best parts of the “fathers” they have had in their lives and use the wisdom and the love they have been shown, to become the best dad’s they can be to their own children.
Happy Father’s Day to all those people who are “fathers” both biological and otherwise, in name or in heart. And especially to those who have been fathers to my boys.