There is something that is so formative about the relationships we have with our fathers. Their very presence and purpose in our lives can affect our ambitions, our relationships, and our worth. They can determine how a girl feels she deserves to be treated. It can model how a boy thinks he should treat girls. It can mould us as those who dare to be different, who strive for more than what society expects of us. It can show us that we deserve to be seen, heard, and loved.
Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.
That’s not to say that the relationships we have with our mothers isn’t influential. It is, in some of the ways I’ve already mentioned, and in other different and important ways, but their devotion, love, time, and investment in our lives often comes across as an expectation of our society, as a natural role. Think about it. I have often heard the phrase, “What kind of mother leaves her children?” but cannot remember a time where I’ve heard a father mentioned in this context. You cannot deny that, whether our culture or the power of nature have determined them, motherhood and fatherhood are seen very differently and that must mean that their involvement (or lack of) in our lives has a varying impact.
Whatever it is, where motherhood is so often deemed to be “instinct,” fatherhood seems to be accepted as a process of intentional choosing. It is a daily decision of how much you will give to your children. How will you handle those more unpleasant tasks of parenting? The broken nights? The worst sorts of nappies? Mopping sick out of hair at midnight? Is it someone else’s job or is it equally yours to do? In what way will you teach your child that he/she is valuable? Will you teach them that it is okay to ignore the real world for a virtual one or will you pick up that Cinderalla Duplo and in the most high-pitched voice you can muster, talk about her horse and carriage? How will you treat the societal pressures that are passed down of what it is to be a man? Will that be reinforced or will you show your children, by example, that communicating your feelings is healthy and helpful.
The best fathers I have seen have shown me that it is a choice to make every attempt to know your child and to throw yourself into whatever has taken their heart.
The Native would’ve said he wasn’t a natural when we began this parenting journey. He would tense when a newborn was laid in his arms. He had never changed a nappy. He used to panic if she peed in the tub. He has chosen to throw himself, not just into this whole crazy rollercoaster of fatherhood, but he has fully poured his life into hers time and time and time again. And I know that his involvement will build her confidence, worth, and security because I can see it now. He is already helping to encourage and shape her personality and interests. I am so blessed to be parenting beside him. She is so blessed to call him her Daddy.