Monday, June 22, 2015

For Fathers

There are plenty of happy fathers dotting my life: my son, son-in-law, and others who I have deep feeling for: Sam – who stated his little daughter is his true source of happiness, Chris whose tenderness is evident as he cares for his son, David who works long hours to make sure his children have everything they need and more. And there are fathers without children in my life, too. Today, they make me sad.

I find Fathers' Day a necessary acknowledgement of men who, by unspoken social decree must hide their feelings. Who have traditionally been the breadwinners and discipliners, seemingly emotionally distant from their offspring. Men who have a deep well of love, but maybe only show it at their children's weddings. I hope that Fathers' Day becomes more of a recognition of fathers' emotional involvement with their children, rather than a day to give them a wallet or a tie: something that represents their manliness outside of the world of feeling.  

Another aspect of Fathers' Day that weighs on my heart is those fathers who have no rights with regard to their children. In many parts of the world, parents' rights are unequal, with mothers having the most rights. In America, it generally takes a proven unfit mother: on drugs, abusive, criminal, etc for a father to gain full custody. Fortunately, there are those of broken relationships who see the value in providing stability for their child. Thus, both parents are active in their progeny's life. However, there are quite a few fathers who are estranged from their children through no fault of their own, but by the mother's caprice. They have no recourse in the law. 

I hope that today, we can look around, find and recognize all of the fathers without children. I know several who have always wanted to have children. For some reason, it just never happened. What must this day be like for them? There's no reason to assume that they don't long for a child to hold and nurture. Fathers in today's progressive society - that finally accepts that men have as deep a capacity of feeling and need to nurture as women do, show us that such longing is not just the purview of women.

So, go ahead! Celebrate your fatherhood! If not a father, celebrate your father's fatherhood, and that of all of the other fathers in your life. But please: spare a kind thought to all of those men who have yearned for fatherhood, to whom it was, for whatever reason, denied.

Happy Fathers' Day to all who qualify!  

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