As I walked around the Work place last week, I could hear the gripes and complaints of men about Father's Day. "Do people even know Father's Day is on Sunday?" They compared it to the environment around the job when Mother's Day loomed and individuals sporadically and frequently offered a "Happy Mother's Day" to various women on the job. Rightfully so.
Where would we be without Mom? Not only did she bring us into the World through her Body, she was the driving force behind shaping our attitudes and how we view the world. Nevertheless, I could understand the heart of these men's discontent.
What do Fathers do? What makes Dad special? Is there a notion in Society that Moms do everything and Dads ...try not to mess anything up? Did the persona of Homer Simpson end up diluting the importance of a competent Father?
I'm not sure. Maybe.
It was awkward walking around having to respond to people's questions with: "No, I'm not a Father" or "I don't have any kids" so the Father's Day celebration doesn't apply to me. Yet, the question looms heavily in my mind:
What are Fathers meant to be?
Fathers have to be willing to sacrifice everything. Fathers have to be willing to give everything away. Provide for their family. Make sure that everyone has before they look after themselves. It is the Father's responsibility.
Which is why too many Fathers are MIA. My Dad never knew his Father. Never met him. Never saw him before. Too many can say the same or close to this. But why is this the case? It's a heavy responsibility that too many men are not ready for. Yet, they seek the pleasure of a relationship without wanting to bear the responsibility.
The only advice I can give is if you're not ready to accept the responsibility of Fatherhood, do not bring children into this World. And that doesn't mean aborting the child. It means, abstain from sex until you're prepared to be who a Father should be.
Of course, not many men will live by such a strict principle. It seems to ask too much of them. Still, it's a necessary principle in order to do right by everyone involved. It's the logical choice to make. And doing what is right is not always easy, but it is always right.
And this is why I'm not a Father. At least, not now. Maybe, not ever? Uncertain. However, I promised myself that I'd stick to this principle. Not only for my wife and children's sake, but for my own. How could I look in the mirror knowing I can't provide for my family the way I should? The guilt is even heavier of a burden.
As for my Dad, I imagine he gets more than a little frustrated with me. I'm distant. Aloof. I don't ask for advice. I carve out my own road and wander off to see where it leads. But he stays there. Waiting. While he continues to work.
Two things my Dad taught me: Have a strong work ethic. This I learned from him and did not follow in my young adult life. It took me a while to finally come around. Secondly, no matter how tough Life gets, Dad will tell me: "God is always working, even when it looks like He isn't."
I've found both points to be important to cling to in my Life. A part of the foundation that makes me who I am. I've finally developed a strong work ethic. And I've learned not to give up on God, even when it feels like He's abandoned me (or left me for dead). He still has a plan unfolding in my Life.
As for being a Father myself, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that I won't be able to protect my kids from the evils in this world. I won't be able to protect them from natural disasters, heartbreak, even some diseases. I could do the best I can, but they'd always be vulnerable to harm.
Would I be over-protective and they'd begin to resent me? Possibly. And if they're anything like me, they'd wander off to make their own path and I'd have to pray for them from a distance. It would be their Life and their Choices to make. It's a tough balance.
For now, I can simply leave this at "Happy Father's Day." If you're a Dad, be a great Dad. Don't fret about mistakes. Do your best. Be there. Just being there makes a huge difference.
Eric Christopher Jackson