On this Fresh Start Monday I want to deviate just a little to talk about fathers and Father’s Day. Even today fathers don’t get the recognition and honor they deserve. I know there are a lot of absentee fathers, men with no idea of what being a father means and then there are others that just don’t care. In either case it should in no means negatively impact the fathers who are present, who do all they can whether they’re in the home or living apart.
I can count on one hand the number of commercials aimed at celebrating fathers. In comparison the number of commercials throughout the month of May leading up to Mother’s Day were plentiful. You couldn’t watch a show on television without at least 1 commercial shinning a light on mothers. This is a disgrace! Why do we allow it to continue?
To be honest the ones who must take the lead on this travesty and change it are the mothers? Why? Because we’re the ones with the major influence with our children. It starts at home. We all had or have fathers. None of us got here with just the labor of our mothers, so don’t file this fact away and not share it with your children and the world.
I don’t have to go any further than my own family to look and the various characteristics of a father. Let me start at the beginning, with my father; He’s been dead several years now but growing up I remember how hard-working he was, he never uttered the words I love you to us kids but I have no doubt we all knew he loved us. Of course each of us have our own memories of him, good and bad. I can only speak for me and my perceptions.
Daddy had his faults, over doing it with drinking was his major one. When he drank he and mama would fight, mostly with words but there were some instances when it got physical. For me it made me learn early on to avoid men who drank. But his hard work also taught me that a man who says he loves me should be able to take care of himself and me. Daddy was protective of me in his way, boys were off-limits, he kept them at bay as much as he could. Even so in my eyes daddy was my hero and I loved him dearly. And for all the fussing and fighting I knew he loved mama as well. And when they grew apart and divorced he was still in my life as much as possible even when he moved back to the country where he was most comfortable.
One thing I give high props to is my mama’s ability to separate being divorced from him and yet not hinder him from continuing to play a role in the lives of his 5 children. This example she displayed served me well when I got divorced from my sons’ father. Because of her example I made sure to never say anything negative about their father in front of them, to them or in ear shot of them. After all children grow up and can make up their own minds about their fathers. They don’t need any help from the other parent.
I look at my grown sons and see how they’ve taken on the role of father very seriously. Each married women who already had children and they were and are treated as if they were their own flesh and blood children. I see how hard they work to be good providers, listeners, encourager and the number 1 fan for each child. They discipline when needed and even in discipline the love is never far behind. Each have their own ideas of how to raise their children but I can also see a lot of the examples they learned from my husband.
He came into their lives at the age of 8 and 9. Naturally they were not thrilled to have this male in the family who was able to see through a lot of the antics that went over my head because I was so busy making a living to provide for them. And it didn’t stop them in the beginning from trying everything they could to make him disappear, like the time my oldest polished his shoes with Oscar’s brand new silk shirt. He didn’t discount their feelings but he did let it be known that respect for others was an important lesson for them to learn.
And now some 30 years later they are able to spend time with each other, talk about any and everything and it’s nothing for them to seek his advice. Yes their biological father is still alive and in their lives as well but I’m extremely proud of the relationship they have worked to develop with my husband, whom they lovingly call “pops” and at other times “paw paw”. They know they can count on him and if there’s ever anything they need if it’s in his power he can and will be there.
I look at my husband and I smile and I ache for him. Why? Because his relationship with his own children is complicated. Not because of his doing but circumstances beyond his control kept him away from them at a crucial time in the life of the children. And though he’s made many efforts to be there for ALL of his kids the relationships are shaky. It could be much better but it is hindered because of the unwillingness of grown children to meet him where they are now.
I witnessed first hand his efforts to find his children, then once found work to build a relationship even to the point of bringing the boys to live with us when they were 12 and 14. But their minds and hearts had already been poisoned. So sad really for they all are missing out on a great man. It hasn’t stopped him from loving them or wanting the best for them. But I still see the hurt.
So you see mothers of the world, you yield great power. Use it wisely. Encourage a relationship between your children and their fathers. And if you’re a grown child still estranged from your father, stop….! Let today be the beginning of a new relationship. I’m not saying that it’s easy, or course not but then anything worth truly having requires work, sacrifice and stamina.
None of us is perfect. So why are we expecting parents to be perfect? And mothers, why when relationships fail you choose to disavow the importance of a father’s love? Why does society as a whole choose to negate the role of a father?
Even God tells us to honor our fathers and mothers, it is a commandment filled with promise, “that your days may be long upon this earth” (paraphrase is mine). It did not say honor mother only which is what we as a society have done for years. It says honor father and mother.
Won’t you this day commit to a renewed relationship with your father? The reward is tremendous and if your father is no longer alive but the estranged relationship still affects you negatively, write him a letter, pour your heart out to him, forgive if necessary and then make a choice to start fresh!