June 17, 2014

The Importance of a Father

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to write a piece explaining just how important a father is in the life of a child. The only way that I know how to do this is to share with you the role that my father has played in my life. So, here you go:

 While we all know there aren’t any special skills required to make a baby, those of us with great fathers know that it takes a special man to earn the title of “dad.” And, in a lot of cases, those who are called “dad” are not the biological fathers of the children who look up to them. I know because this is the exact same relationship that my father and I have.

While I was growing up I didn’t appreciate all the things this man sacrificed for me. I had no idea just how much of a handful I was or how much time, money, frustration, worry, etc. was spent on me throughout all of those years. However, now that I am a mother, I finally understand just how much of himself he gave to me and that it was all given out of love; love that he did not have to give.

After all, I was not his biological daughter. I was two when he and my mom married. (Shortly after that time, my biological father stopped paying child support, as well as, visiting me.) So, you see – he walked in to a “ready-made” family. And while he was not my “real” dad, he was the only father-figure I had in my life.

Because he chose to love me like his own and raise me in the way that he would raise his own child, I grew up one pretty lucky girl. I never grew up feeling as if there was something (or someone) missing from my life or wondering what I did wrong to cause my biological dad to cut off communication with me.  Instead, I grew up knowing that I was loved and that I was exactly who I was supposed to be. The fact that I had another “dad” somewhere never caused me any concern. As far as I was concerned, this man…the man my mother married when I was two, was (and still is) my father. My only dad.

In addition to being an amazing father to me, my dad has also shown me over the years what it means to be a man of true character. Through his example, I have learned the value of working hard, being honest and living up to your word. I have also seen what it takes to create a marriage that’s filled with love, respect, patience and appreciation for your spouse; the kind of marriage that will last a lifetime.

All of these things I have learned from a man who did not have to be my father. It is because of this man that I have grown into the woman that I am and have married a man who loves and respects me and who is, in turn, an awesome father to our two boys. It is safe to say that my life would not be the same today if I had not been raised by the man that I call “dad.”

Like I said previously, there are no special skills required to make a baby. However, it takes a lot to fulfill the role of a father.

For those of you who have grown up with amazing fathers, as I have, take the time to let them know just how much you love and appreciate them and all the sacrifices they’ve made for you over the years. And, for all of the fathers out there, remind yourself daily that the example you set will have a major impact on your children’s lives. Whether it is good or bad depends on you.

Do you have a story regarding the influence that your father has had in your life that you would like to share? If you do, please feel free to share!