Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.
We’ve all heard this so many times. But did you ever stop to think about it? This has been a difficult piece to write but one I feel needs to be written. Because this is happening far too often.
I was blessed with a wonderful dad. I just didn’t have enough time with him to get to know him the way I should have. You see, my father died before I was even nine years old. Yes, he left me, and I struggled for years with those feelings of loss and abandonment.
But my father wouldn’t have left me, if it had been up to him. He wasn’t given a choice. He died from a disease that perhaps today’s technology could have prevented, or at least diagnosed earlier.
Unfortunately not all of today’s modern fathers are like that. Many fathers decide that they aren’t ready for the 24/7 responsibilities of fatherhood. It’s easier to let the mothers do the parenting. Far too many take off and leave not only their wives but their kids behind, and stay almost totally out of their children’s lives, unless it suits their schedule to actually see them or talk to them.
They ignore child support orders, because after all, why should they give their ex-wife money? Never mind that she needs the money to help support his children. He has new responsibilities now, and those children aren’t a priority any more. Someone else can handle them. Children are a gift from God. How in the world can someone throw them away, ignore them?
There are more of these fathers today than we want to think about. Single moms are raising their children as best they can, with little or no help from the father who helped create them. They have to be both mother AND father to them. And speaking as a child who was raised in that environment, even though my circumstances were far different, I can honestly say it is a far more difficult task than anyone should ever have to do.
And it’s not fair to the children. They are missing out on so much. So are their fathers. But their fathers make that choice; the children don’t.
I’m not speaking about the fathers who are kept from their children by ex-wives and ex-girlfriends because of various reasons that may or may not have any merit; that’s a totally different topic for a different day. I’m referring to the fathers who decide not to be involved in their children’s lives for their own personal, and yes, selfish, reasons. Who have disappointed their children in so many ways, and yes, those children will have to deal with those feelings of abandonment for years, well into adulthood.
Those fathers most likely don’t think about how that little girl dreams of her elusive father coming by to pick her up, take her somewhere; or just sit with her, talk with her, hug her, and show her that, yes, he actually does love her. They don’t think about the times they promise to come get their children, and then forget about them. They don’t think about that little boy sitting by the door patiently waiting for a knock that doesn’t come, who then goes to bed and cries himself to sleep, as his mother tries to make excuses for someone she knows doesn’t deserve him.
Then there are the children who, instead of admitting to themselves that their fathers don’t want, them any more, fantasize that their fathers are somewhere far away, maybe in the CIA as a spy, off fighting bad guys and can’t get back to them. Maybe they’re somewhere seriously wounded, or very ill, or have amnesia and don’t remember anything. Surely they wouldn’t purposely abandon them.
What a sad, sad state of affairs.
And I’m not referring to the fathers who stay in their children’s lives after a divorce or breakup; who maintain a relationship with them, attending school functions, dance recitals, and soccer games. Who call their kids regularly, and take them out for dinner and ice cream. They’re still dads to their kids. They know their children are more important than their own lives, or the fact that he and their mother couldn’t make it together.
Are you seeing the difference here?
It’s a sad commentary on today’s life to think about how many children there are whose fathers don’t care enough about them to try and stay in their lives. Who refuse to pay child support, or pay it grudgingly and think that’s the only obligation they have. Who show up once in a while and then wonder why their child doesn’t want to have very much to do with them.
Where did the sense of honor, the sense of responsibility, and yes, the sense of loving someone (someone you helped create) more than your very own life disappear to?
As you’re reading this, if you’re in a situation in which you don’t have custody of your children, ask yourself…are you a father or a DAD? There’s a huge difference. And chances are, if you’ve read this to the end, you’re definitely a DAD!
And yes, I know there are circumstances in which mothers act the same way. Be prepared for our next article…coming this Thursday.