The Dignity of Being a Dad
No one can describe to a man what having his own child will mean to him. Words simply cannot do justice; each man needs to discover it for himself.
Still, we need talk about what being a father feels like so we can better understand and leverage the strength it brings us to do whatever it takes for our kids. We also need to pass what we learn on to the next guy so he is equipped to step up for his kids. We need to share our experiences; not the tired, poor, stretched, etc. feelings, but the profound ones: how doing our job for our family makes us feel as men.
As men, our stereotyped desire is wanting to be seen as attractive, sexually active and successful with women. Pick up any men’s magazine: in keeping with the fantasy, among the articles on six pack abs and turning her into a nympho, you will be hard pressed to find any evidence any of us are married, or worse, are tied down with children. So while we still buy the magazines (hey, it’s a fantasy), we know better.
The reality is that we men broadly report that being seen as honorable, resourceful and respected is much more important to our sense of manhood. Before our child arrives, we have already learned that having one woman who cares deeply for us, loving her, protecting her, having her belong to us and us to her, knowing she can count on us no matter what, is a great feeling that brings out the best in us as men.
We then made the big leap – a child, fatherhood and family, with our mate turning into a mom – and run into another stereotype: the notion that fatherhood is emasculating, that becoming a father, with all that diaper changing, baby talk, nurturing, etc. somehow make us less of a man. And we learn otherwise.
We find that taking care of a sick baby through the night is not for wimps, and that providing for a family can require a great deal of strength. As we teach our child new things and he gets excited when he sees us, we learn how incredibly important we are to him. It takes time, but we discover that caring deeply for a child - protecting him, having him belong to us, us to him, knowing he can count on us no matter what - gives us a mission in life, a purpose larger than ourselves.
Fatherhood challenges us, but it also enlarges us and reshapes our perception of what is important in the world around us. As we take stock of this new world, we find that doing our job as a dad is inherently honorable and respectful, and brings to us the dignity that goes with the territory. Far from being emasculating, being a dad makes us men in the finest sense of the term.
Tagged in: Our Manifesto • Respecting Fatherhood • Instincts
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We have another addition to our Respect for Fathers Hall of Fame.
Los Angeles Times' Finding his lost family is Japanese man's mission
Maromu Oikawa, a Japanese
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Past Blog Entries
Father’s Day Flash Mob
Join the Brotherhood of Dads
The Renaissance of Fatherhood In America
New Moms Are the Heart of the Matter
Dads, Get Your Caveman On
The Dignity of Being a Dad
Was Father’s Day the Tipping Point?
Respect for Fathers Hall of Fame
Father Trashing Hall of Shame
Father Who Never Gives Up
Being a Dad…