Father’s Day is just like any other weekend day. You get up, you realize all the things that need to be done around the house, you “plan” to do about 17 tasks fully aware that you will likely only complete 2, and you will go to bed with a queasy mixture of accomplishment and frustration. It is awesome to be a guy. (As an aside, when Candace asks me to hand her the series of beauty implements from the depths of her cavernous purse, I regularly comment that I am glad I’m a dude.) But that’s it right? Us tough, gruff guys don’t need no pandering. Pedicure-WHAT? I don’t even need a sharp knife to cut the toughest roughest piece of steak I have (since I gave all the better pieces to others in yet another selfless, chivalrous act). I will use a butter knife to cut this leather, AND if that doesn’t work, I will simply pick it up and gnaw on it while flexing various non-descript muscles in my neck and jaw. Testosterone will be off the chart. I will have to work from keeping my shirt from spontaneously shredding.
Whew, side-tracked there for a second. Anyway, the point is that we (fellas) say we don’t need special attention. We are far too masculine to be treated in a kinder, softer manner, even if it is only for a single day. So, take that ball of unacknowledged emotional denial and compound it with the longing to simply be a dad and what you are left with is what? Maybe a guy that might seem even a bit more absent, slightly more aloof, or maybe abnormally “busy” on Father’s Day- kind of the “I will work this day out of existence” approach. Ultimately, not a good day, not a typical day, not a day that you would like repeated.
Something else us Y-chromosome possessors don’t like is being pandered to. “This day must be so hard for you” or “Maybe next year will be different” or “Why are you bothered by today, you’re not a dad?” That last one is fun to hear (equal maybe to a piranha-based facial treatment … not that I would know though since I am WAY too tough to even look directly at a spa). Therefore, I would like to appeal to these gents that will look forward to Father’s Day (whether mindfully or subconsciously) rapidly leaving their calendars to consider how “Dad” is defined and what it means to be a “Father” in a broader sense.
Oh sure, being a dad can be simply defined as the person responsible for some younger human that you are biologically or legally responsible for. But, I think there are broader ways to define what being a dad is. If you think about it, a Dad is someone (most likely of the male gender) that provides support for someone else. It could be through advice, through shared labor, through running errands, through sacrifice of your things so that others can have their needs fulfilled. It sounds to me that the things that define a “Dad” bear a striking resemblance to the general definition of a decent guy. Maybe it is old-fashioned of me, but aren’t all of those characteristics considered to be acts of chivalry? And, old-fashioned or not, I will never accept that chivalry is dead! So, if being a father can be defined as acting in a manner that reflects a selfless, chivalrous nature, is it too far to consider those of us that choose to act this way, whether we have children or not, to be honing our skills as a father?
So, from an infertile father to hopeful guys out there, I want to encourage you to consider this Father’s Day to not be limited to those males that have merely utilized their wedding tackle to increase the world population. Instead, consider this a celebration of all of the tenants of what makes a man a man. If those attributes are ones that you cherish, that you inculcate into your every waking moment, that you relish seeing in other men, then this day is as much for you as it is for any other dude. And even if your path does not cross with a child of your own – biological, adopted, whatever – by taking your core values and acting on and through them in your home, in your church, and in your community, you will be a Father to so many more people than your house could physically hold. Happy Father’s Day to all my fellas that struggled and are dads, that continue to struggle to be dads, to all that will be dads to those around them.
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