George Washington, the first President of the United States, is revered as the father of our country. What made him such a great “father”? He was determined to be a great leader; he never gave up, took charge, served his country relentlessly, and put his country before himself. At eleven, he lost his father and became a ward of his brother, Lawrence. He did not raise natural children but adopted his wife’s children: Martha’s son Jackie and her daughter Patsy.
Experiences of being a dad are as varied as the men involved, but all are valuable in family systems and hopefully know how much they are appreciated. Father’s Day gives us a designated day to ponder the lessons they teach and thank them for their male perspective, financial support, role modeling, and genuine love.
Boys and girls need sound male role models, and I have high respect for men who put effort and time into being a good father, step-dad, uncle, grandpa, coach, neighbor, teacher, brother, pastor, etc. Kudos to all men who responsibly accept the
challenge. It does take a village.
Fathers have always come in many shapes, heights, and abilities. Some have a natural knack for being the family leader, and others struggle with the role. Some throw footballs on a Sunday afternoon and others are more absent and uninvolved. Some are tolerant of children, and some have little preparation or knowledge of a child’s normal development and curiosity.
Unlike women in our culture, men are not as socialized to be parents—giving dolls to boys is often taboo, whereas girls are encouraged to dress, bathe, cuddle and play with many dolls.
Being an involved, compassionate, and dependable dad is challenging but incredibly important. Parenting, for both men and women, is often an “Oh, I love this little miracle! Now, what do I do?” There aren’t a lot of support systems for fathers, and they usually fall back on how their dads parented. They often don’t feel competent in the dad role and are uncomfortable striking up conversations about their kids with buddies. I watch with pride as my son and son-in-law strive to take charge, serve their families relentlessly, often put themselves secondary, and never give up.
God bless my father on this worthy holiday. He passed in 2007. He was a WWII Purple Heart Veteran and the fourth of 11 child
ren. He had many talents, and I’m thankful for what he learned from my grandpa and what my grandpa learned from my great-grandpa. Parenting evolves—Sons, and the men daughters marry, usually have many traits of their fathers.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the natural and substitute dads. George Washington set an example, and I believe fathers today also do their best to help grow good men and women.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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