It has been many years since my father and my father-in-law have passed away but each year when this holiday comes around, I can’t help but think about them both. My father was awesome. He dedicated himself to his wife and children and did everything that he believed was in our best interest. My father-in-law welcomed me into his family with lots of warmth and love and affection and always treated me the greatest respect. But, the one thing that I remember most vividly about both of these men is that their families were most important to them.
…when you are fortunate enough to have a father like I had, you know the gift that you have been given and you appreciate what having a father in your life is really like and what it really means.
I can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like to not have a father around while growing up. I do understand that there are many men who have no desire to be around their own children and some will go so far as to deny that they are the parent of a child in order to avoid paying child support. There are those who think of a child as an “accident” that happened when they had unprotected sex. But, when you are fortunate enough to have a father like I had, you know the gift that you have been given and you appreciate what having a father in your life is really like and what it really means.
I know that I did not realize the wonder of my father until I was grown and had the chance to reflect on my past and what I had learned as my core set of values. Sure, I made lots of mistakes along the way and made many bad choices but in the end, I was always able to rebound and start over again with a new understanding of the lessons that I had learned because of what I had been taught. I was able to know my father-in-law for a number of years and see the interaction between him and my husband and understand the respect and love that he had for his son. It was always so wonderful for me when I saw the two of them engaged in conversation where father was sharing his past and all of his experiences with his son. But, most of all, I really appreciated the look of love on his dad’s face as it became more and more evident how much those moments in time meant to his dad and how he appreciated being able to have a man to man conversation with a son for whom he had so much respect.
No one can force a man to be a father to his child or children. The sad part is that most people don’t understand the basis of a good family foundation. When people choose to have sex just for the personal satisfaction of it without the love and respect for one another, no one should be surprised when a man has no respect for the results of his actions. I feel so sorry for the child who has never known a father. I will admit that many men have no idea how to be a father but just like everything else in life, you can learn. There are no books to teach you and that is probably a good thing as many of the books that I have seen about raising children are not very good. From what I learned from my father, if you give your child lots of love, take the time and make an effort to teach them how to be respectful and allow them to become the person that they were meant to be, you will be successful.
To all of those who have taken on the father role, congratulations. You are wanted and needed and appreciated more than you know. For those who have also understood that children are a gift, you have already learned everything that you need to know. You would never teach your child to hit someone else. You would never yell or scream or swear at your child as that will not help them to change the behavior that displeased you. You have learned that if you treat your child with love and respect, that is what you will get in return. Sure, it’s not always easy but in the long run, it is the most rewarding role that you will ever have in your life.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.