My father chose not to be a part of my life. While I've come to terms with it, I’ll never understand the premise behind his absence. But I'm not the only one living without my biological father. U.S. Census Bureau states that 24 million children, one out of three, live without their biological father in the home (Sanders, 2013).
As a result, they’ve considered this “The Father Absence – Crisis in America” type of phenomena and have linked several different economic and behavioral downfalls to that of father deficit including teen pregnancy, poverty, drug abuse, etc.
Seems like a pretty far reach, but I believe it. And it’s only because now that I’m experiencing fatherhood in my own unique way – through the lens of my husband and the relationship he has with our children – I have witnessed the impact he has on their everyday life. This is a bond I've realized that neither myself or any mother (or mentor) could ever duplicate or replace.
I appreciate my husband for many things, but what I am most deeply grateful for is the way he has immersed himself into his role as a dad and has shown me the most true and raw version of fatherhood. I believe this has ultimately filled a void in me in some sort of unique way. His lead-by-example type of behavior has also shaped my own definition of what a father is and the role he plays in his family;
A father is loyal, devoted, and patient.
A father provides comfort and security.
A father is lighthearted, but sincere.
A father models strong work ethic.
A father is giving; expecting little-to-nothing in return.
A father is rooted; traditionally and simply in an over-complicated world.
A father makes certain his family feels important and special. Every single day.
A father plays the mother “role” anytime necessary.
Being a father OR a mother in today's world is not an easy feat. So for those that have taken on this responsibility wholeheartedly, especially my fellow fathers, step-fathers, and father-like figures, I wanted to give a special shout-out. YOU have made the choice to be a guiding light and mentor to our future generation of leaders and are making this world a better place each day at a time.
Happy Father's Day to all those stellar and studly Dads!
Sanders, R. (2013). The Father Abscence Crisis In America. Available at: http://www.fatherhood.org/the-father-absence-crisis-in-america