“Creating a child takes no love or skill; being a parent requires lots of both.”
Father’s Day has never been that big of a deal in our household. We’d take dad out for a nice steak dinner and we might get him a token gift, but that’s about it. And I can’t imagine Father’s Day being all that big of a deal this year either, except that this is the first Father’s Day where I am a father myself. It’s a surreal feeling to know that I am (partly) responsible for a tiny human being. As stressful and exhausting as it may be, the experience is also richly rewarding.
Any guy with functional plumbing can theoretically impregnate a woman. But as former law professor Michael Josephson states in the quote above, it takes an entirely different breed of man to be a real dad. He needs to be loving. He needs to be skillful. He needs to be the one to laugh with, the lap to sleep in and sometimes the shoulder to cry on.
The definition and perception of fatherhood continues to change and evolve, partly illustrated by the growing variety of available creative dad shirts. Dads are more involved in the raising of their children than ever before. I don’t claim to know what I’m doing as daddyhood is, by its very definition, a process of on-the-job training. I may not have the skill just yet, but I’m trying. And I certainly have the love.
After his career as a professor and attorney, Michael Josephson moved on to found the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics. These days, he’s best known as the author of several books on character and ethics, lecturing on these subjects on a regular basis. You can find some of his talks on YouTube.
“It’s a great joy but no test of love or commitment to take your son to a ball game. You really prove your credentials as a good dad when you are willing to take your daughter shopping – more than once.”
A lesson about fatherhood that I learned very quickly is that my life is no longer about me. It’s no longer about living for myself, because it’s all about her. If she needs me to take her shopping, I’ll be there. If she wants me to paint her nails or braid her hair, despite my obvious lack of skill or artistic ability, so be it. I will be her champion and her cheerleader, her friend and her confidant.
Happy Father’s Day to all the other dads out there. How are you spending your “special” day?