Honor Your Father by Being a Good Father
As the 2008 Father’s Day holiday approaches and we begin thinking of ideas for Father’s Day Gifts, we are reminded that the qualities that make for a great role model in a father most likely seem simple to sum up to many people…yet, the reality is a far cry from that.
But Father’s Day reminds us, ironically, that fathers are very often minimized in our society. In other words, the social mores as well as the legal systems that govern our civilization are quick to assume that the mother is the most important figure in a child’s life and are equally quick to protect mothers while so often denigrating fathers.
Although this tendency has softened a little bit in the last 35 years, our law courts reflexively find in favor of the mother over the father in cases of divorce and contested child custody. In many localities a mother has to be essentially some kind of felon before a court would take away her role as primary child custodian before the child reaches the age of 18. A father, on the other hand, still has little chance of winning primary custody of his children if he has done anything remotely wrong.
However, it does seem that men have, in general, at least partly brought on this discrimination themselves through learned withdrawal behaviors.
Many, many fathers, despite loving their children in their hearts, can be observed to take merely passive roles in their children’s lives and development. The stereotyped image of the father, in spite of all modern sophistication, remains that of one who leaves the domestic dwelling during the day (sometimes, in our modern world, the night under artificial light) to hunt up food or its financial equivalent for the sake of his children. when he returns to the domestic dwelling at the end of the day, he is more interested in “relaxing” and thinking about his own personal interests than he is in thinking about what famous father Bill Cosby comically referred to as the mysterious little people a father suddenly realizes, one day, are living in his house.
Many fathers do little if anything to negate this ready-made image of passivity. There is a trend with a minority of the twenty something and even thirty something fathers to be come more engaged in the child rearing. Some parents work out arrangement to work different shifts to avoid child care costs and to make certain they are the ones raising their children as opposed to paid care takers.
A child’s mother is, still, the parent that is typically left to read books to the children, cook for the children, attend events featuring the children, help the children with their homework, even go outside and play ball with the children. The father’s duty is, very often, still seen as being somebody who is supposed to go out and “bring home the bacon” or “make the living” for the family–but, in the evening and on weekends when he is not necessarily doing that, he is thought to want his personal time, and society deems it quite normal for fathers to seek out their “man caves” during time off from earning money.
But where do these societal norms leave a father’s children?
The problems that are plaguing our society today–problems of lack of leadership, lack of personal direction, lack of creative inspiration, and others–can in large part be traced to a lack of the dynamic role of the father in modern children’s lives. The role of the father in child development, studies as well as observation tell us, becomes increasingly important once a child reaches school age, as the child individuates and separates from her binding ties to the physical body that brought her into the world and then nourished and sustained her life.
But this simple fact is terribly underplayed in our society–and as mentioned above, sometimes to the point where it has legal ramifications.
What does it take to be a great father?
The first thing it takes is going against some of the negative-minded norms that men are taught to embrace. Our society makes a big deal out of negative norms that women and mothers need to break from–and with very good reason–but the equivalent norms that men are expected to swallow so often get swept under the rug that society becomes numb to their negative effects. And so do fathers.
So, one of the primary aspects of a great father is that he does not conform to those societal norms that demand that he “keep under” his psychologically feminine aspects. Why can’t a father show emotional sensitivity? Why can’t a father play the role of the “nurturer” at times, even while he maintains the role of “guardian”? Why can’t a father sympathize and empathize with his child’s first serious romantic crush, instead of just offering sometimes cold-seeming “advice” that a star-struck child is not interested in?
The answer to all of these questions is: there is no reason, he can and should.
A great father is not afraid to play any of those above-mentioned roles for his children, whether they are boys or girls.
A great father attentively listens to his children, and he listens to them as they are and not just as he wishes they would be. A great father is not too tired for his children and his work, no matter how much responsibility it demands, does not come before them. A great father makes sure that he has a lot of dynamic involvement with his children–not just the passive involvement of watching TV with them, or telling them about things without taking them out to involve them in those things. A great father shows, and does not just tell. Tim Russert’s, of NBC’s Meet the Press celebrated his father with his book, Big Russ and Me: Father and Son–Lessons of Life. Even though his father worked two jobs he somehow took the time to be an outstanding role mode and to show Tim that he loved him. When did the man sleep? The world needs more fathers like this.
A great father is a poet as well as a warrior. He does not need to literally be either one of those things; but in his spirit he is both, and not just either-or.
As the father is, his own children will become. If a father has a son, his son is much more likely to become like the father he has instead of the father he is merely left to fantasize about or wish for.
On Father’s Day, give honor to the dynamic spirit within your father. And if he has not shown it, you may well inspire him to do so. And if you are a father–live it.
Remember your dad this Father’s Day with Father’s Day Gifts just for him. Consider Nascar Racing Gift Chest from a Fathers Day Gift Basketline at Arttowngifts.com. In this case a 12 Pack Ice Chest - Cooler serves as the gift basket and a Nascar Racing Hat and A History of Stock Car Racing Book adds to the gourmet snacks and sweet treats. Or choose a Personalized Fathers Day Gift such as Leather Toiletry Travel Bag which can be monogrammed with his name or other meaningful message. Or another favorite a Personalized Money Clip and Credit Card Holder which is called a Smart Money Clip-Credit Card Holder. It is never too late to order your Father’s Day Gifts. Check Arttowngifts.com Last Minute Gifts for same day delivery and pick out a great Fathers Day Wine Gift for dear old dad.