Being raised without the presence of my father at home made me into the kind of person who didn’t believe that there was any additional bonus in having a father. My mom was more than capable of raising us two children and my grandmother provided back up when necessary.
Some of my classmates were also in the same situation as I was. Some had fathers in the home but like all good dads, all important decisions were deferred to the moms. They administered no discipline, nor did they provide any entertainment. That was for the moms to do. The common refrain was “Go ask your mother.”
There were also many households with an active and functioning dad unit, but beyond the extra paycheck they didn’t seem to be any better or worse than mine.
What then was the point of men beyond their primary biological purpose?
I said this to my first boyfriend at age 18 and he never took kindly to my words. He told me I was just bitter.and that maybe I didn’t like men. But I wasn’t being bitter, I said to him, just practical.
Over the years, I grew up a bit and had male friends who eventually became fathers. My older brother also became a father.
Perhaps it’s the men of my age who grew up with fathers who had good role models, or, those who didn’t know their fathers, like my brother, who decided to be different, but there was such a positive difference in the performance of the fathers that I now saw around me.
I’m happy to say that the number of active dads I know of have increased exponentially. There are dads coaching our schools’ recreational sports teams, dads present in the delivery room, dads taking time off for paternity leave, dads playing dress up with their daughters, dads taking a active interest in their children’s lives.
I’m so proud of you all. Thanks for instilling some confidence in me and making me believe that your role extends beyond that first day.
Happy father’s day!