Tuesday, September 23, 2003

What does it mean to be a father?

Some rambling (blogging) thoughts on fatherhood...

In America today there's almost nothing left of "traditional" households. Every where I look, there's blended families and single-parent families and same-sex parents and trans-generational families and every other possible family possible. And within all that, what role does the father play. I think sometimes we don't have to participate, even in a "traditional" family. The father can let the mother do all the parenting; we fall back on the stereotypical father-as-breadwinner-and-not-nurturer role.

Can we, as men, allow this?

What about children born out of wedlock? All too often the mother expects to raise the child alone. Or the father turns tail and runs. Easier, perhaps. Who wants to juggle schedules for two different homes; who wants to have the emotional turmoil of involvement if there isn't a love between the parents... or never was.

When we allow ourselves to fall into this trap of non-involvement, what does this do for our children? What does it do for ourselves? What does it do to our communities?

What does it mean to be a father? Under any circumstances, it's more than providing half the genetic material. It is about influencing the child, supporting the child, teaching the child, protecting the child. It's about doing these things -- even in the face of adversity. It's about doing the right thing, always.

So what do I expect of myself? To be participatory. To be present. To be supportative of the child. To teach. To leave a legacy, through my children, for the future.

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