Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Personal Reflection on Fatherhood

I shared these random thoughts on my personal Facebook and many people contacted me asking to share this more broadly and to say that they got something from this. Their response was a blessing to me. I wrote this just as personal reflection, but if the message can inspire someone or serve as a blessing for someone then why not: 

Today, I am thinking about Father's Day. Fatherhood reflect's life's challenges and opportunities. My parents divorced when I was very young so my mother was mother/father to me. I did visit my father some summers in Melbourne, FL but that slacked off around 8 years of age. My father was not much in my life after that until after college (more on that in a moment) but was not bad or evil. Distance and other factors didn't afford a relationship. It is astounding how many of my peers/friends grew up in similar situations, single mother homes and without the influence of a father. I now have 2 kids that I absolutely cherish. I try my best to provide for them, give them wisdom, and set a template. The irony is that I didn't have a fatherly template to mimic growing up, but I was loved and had a sense of responsibility. At this point, let me acknowledge the influence of other positive males along the way (other family, Alpha fraternity brothers, mentors). They should not be underestimated when a father is not in the home. This is why male engagement, role models, and mentors are critical today. Nevertheless, I am now in a position to provide a template. A son needs to see how to care for others, love a woman, and take responsibility. A daughter needs to see that a man/male can love her and cherish her unconditionally and that it is ok to give that back to a man. I firmly believe that stays with a daughter when they seek a mate later in life (so I have selfish interests here too :)). Seriously, my father has been more engaged in our lives since I graduated from college and since the kids came along, and I am appreciative for it. They love "Grandpa James". To be clear, in no way am I suggesting that a Mother alone can't raise a child to be a positive force, I am a walking example as are many of you. However, a strong fatherly presence is important. I often joke that Fathers, relatively speaking, get dissed on Father's Day compared to Mother's Day. However, if it is just about 1 day, then I have already failed as a Father. Happy Father's Day to the men stepping to the plate in these roles whether you are in the house 100% of the time with your kids or not. And if you have a strained relationship with your father, maybe this is the year to forgive and rebuild it.....

So, it's Father's Day, everyone is sleeping but me. I think I will call my dad.