By Diane Burton
Here in the U.S., we just celebrated Father’s Day. We often speculate about the dads we know and have known. At the same time, we ponder what makes a great father. I think the most important can be summed up in two words.
That’s right. A great father is one who is present.
Who shows up for ballet recitals and baseball games. A guy who helps with homework (the operative word is “help” not do). A man who holds his infant while watching football then changes the baby’s diaper. A man who teaches his daughter and son how to drive and change a tire. A man who supports his family and shows the kids’ mother respect.
In this day when 50% of marriages end in divorce, a great father doesn’t divorce his kids. He still does all of the above. I read a meme on Facebook about a man who gave his ex-wife a Mother’s Day gift, including breakfast (I think). His point? He showed his sons how to treat their mother and their (potential) wives.
In Hubs and my day, our dads didn’t do all that. Sure, they were present, they supported their family, they taught us how to change a tire. But, there were many things they didn’t do. My dad change a diaper? Hah! In our family, there were girls’ chores and boys’ chores. Somehow, the girls had many more chores than the boys did, even if theirs were bigger, just less often. Dad did teach the boys how to repair engines (lawn mowers, for example). Hubs’ dad taught him carpentry. Since Hubs was an only child, he had all the chores. (Poor guy. LOL)
With our kids, things changed. Fathers became more involved, but not anywhere near as involved as the boys did when they became fathers. I love watching my son and son-in-law interact with their children. When our son-in-law came home from work, he immediately picked up his baby girl then walked around the house with her. He read her stories at bedtime. Same with his son. When our daughter-in-law had to travel for her job, our son took time off from work to care for the baby twins. Not all fathers have jobs where they can afford that. The point is their involvement with their children.
Unfortunately, in some families, the fathers aren’t there, don’t support their families, never show up for important activities in their children’s lives. An old Cat Stevens’ song shows what happens when a man chooses work (or friends) over their children:
“Cats in the Cradle”
A child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking before I knew it and as he grew
He said, "I'm gonna be like you, Dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"
Such a sad song. You can read the rest of the lyrics here.
I’m so proud of my three guys: Hubs, Son, and Son-in-law. They know how to be good fathers. Even better, they are giving their children a great example.
About the Author
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website.
You can read Diane's "Family Life" column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.