My son turned six months old on Sunday. For the past year, since I found out my wife was pregnant, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a father. What makes a father different than a mother or other people? Men have it pretty easy, in terms of what it takes to be a father, but you always hear about how men, who are suppose to be fathers, are neglecting their responsibilities. Men neglecting their children or not showing up at all, which means these men are not men at all, they’re boys who pretend to be men. Being a Man and being a father is one and the same. You don’t need children to be a man but you can’t be a man if you have children and you’re not a father. People need to better define the meaning of being a father. Being a father comes down to two things: Showing up and participating. First, you can’t be a father if you’re not around. If you not around then you should have a good excuse why you’re not around. A good excuse is working to provide for your family, whether it be a job which forces you to travel or serving in the military. Even if you’re away you still call, you still show up. With today’s technology there is no excuse for not keeping in touch. Secondly, you need to participate. Participating means you show your family affection when your around or on the phone. You don’t ignore your family and children no matter what else is going on in your mind, work, or life. It doesn’t matter if you show up or call, you need to give your family what no one else can. You need to give them your full attention. You need to engage and show them you care. A lot of fathers try to make up for their lack of attentiveness with gifts and money. I’m not denying that everyone doesn’t love gifts, but possessions can never replace the time spent with a parent. It can never replace the memory of doing something with your parents.
I had a great father who died almost two years ago. I think about how he was a great example for me about what it takes to be a father. Even though my parents were divorced my father was probably around as much as any of my friends father’s. He came to more practices and games then most of my friends’ dads. We played catch, practiced basketball, and he was always willing to throw the football to me. When I look back at the time we spent together and the time we spent apart. I really miss three things, hearing his voice, his cooking, and practicing sports with him. All the hours of catch, all the free throw shots, and all the time spent on the football field playing catch. These were some of the best moments of my life. They shaped me into the man I am today. When I look at my son, I can’t help but think about what my father would be saying. What he would do? I know one thing. I’ll always be there for him. I’ll always be ready to go play catch or practice whatever he wants, whether it’s a sport, chess, or homework. I’ll make sure I’ll be there for him.
This morning, it took me almost two hours to complete my 750 words. A process that normally takes less than a half hour because I was being a father.