I’ve been surprised of late at the sources and volume of negative or, at best, ambivalent feelings towards fathers and fatherhood.
My wife is getting involved in the ladies ministry at our church and there was a coffee and tea get together Saturday morning. My wife was planning several errands for the morning and so I was left caring for young William. So long as we have milk pumped and bottled he is quite alright with me. More importantly, I’m willing and able and responsible, as I am his father.
I’m no superhero, nor do I have any special ability beyond the normal. I’m not much of an outlier in this respect, I believe.
Rather, I consider myself normal.
I’m a normal man who has taken responsibility for his family, his wife and their child.
I work to support them financially, bu my responsibility does not end at 5pm Friday.
I’m a father, not just a breadwinner. A father is so much more than a breadwinner.
I’m a diaper changer, a dish washer, a laundromat, a soft shoulder, a chauffeur, a burp rag, a comic, a stereo, a counselor, a pastor, a manager, a confidant, a firm hand. I am whatever necessary to ensure both the macro- and micro-progress of my family towards our goal of bringing more glory to God and achieving greater Godliness mutually and individually.
I am capable and willing.
I’m not expert or perfect.
For the men who don’t think themselves capable: grow a pair, man up, find your spine. You’re capable of what you choose to be.
For the mothers who haven’t tried letting go and letting dad: he’ll grow into whatever you lovingly and with support allow him become, including dad.
For detractors and cynics everywhere of every stripe: leave. You’re not wanted. Your words only condemn another generation to fatherless failure. Your ideas enslave millions more in the stifling mire of your small minds and minuscule dreams.
Mothers are not superior, and neither are fathers. Both are needed and necessary for normative growth in children. Both are prone to failure.
It is no secret, except to those remaining willfully ignorant and despicable for it, that mothers are as capable of abuse as fathers, and for societies failure to accept it, becoming frighteningly more common.
In fact, it is the union of the two fallible, failed, faltering parents, both the mother and father together, who are most capable of lifting each other beyond their individual limitations and shortcomings. Not to achieve perfection, but to achieve the greater potential of success in whatever goal they have chosen.
And isn’t that what we’re all striving for?
So father, free yourself of the false notion of your incurable frailty and seize the mantel of manhood and be a father.
And mother, relinquish the idea of fatherly failure and instead build up and encourage and then step back and allow the man in your husband to thrive as it fills out the form of fatherhood.