The Significance of Fathers

by Robert Arvay

 

When Clio mentioned that she was planning to post articles for Father’s Day, she found it necessary (and indeed it is) to mention that some people might not have the best relations with their fathers, so perhaps we should consider writing about the Founders.

 

While I am one of those people who has fond memories of a father, many indeed do not. That is one of those undercurrents of general society, the results of which cause far more problems than we may realize.

 

To understand the significance of fathers, we must put them in context with mothers. No one in his right mind disputes the importance of motherhood. The reasons are numerous and obvious, especially in the birthing and nursing of infants. But men can simply walk away. Sometimes they die too young. Oftentimes, the duties of citizenry carry them to distant, dangerous shores, even for years at a time. Consequently, many in society step up to help the grieving mother raise her children. But it can never be enough.

 

Because a strong woman can indeed raise her children in the absence of a father, we sometimes tend to start thinking that, maybe, the need for a father is not all that important after all. I think that no one would disagree with that more than many of those strong mothers.

 

Because men and women differ from each other in several important respects, neither parent can completely replace the other, no matter how valiant the effort. This is why single mothers so often seek for their children the companionship of her brother, her father or other male relative, while perhaps keeping a sharp eye out in case the second Mister Right happens along.

 

Boys, of course, need a father figure to role model for them the male strengths of physical, emotional and spiritual responsibilities. Going fishing with Mom is not quite the same, even if she can thread a worm onto a hook with the best of them. More importantly, seeing Dad bring the paycheck home to Mom, seeing him treat her with love and respect, seeing disputes settled to mutual benefit – these are examples that no one woman by herself can impart to her sons.

 

But girls also need a father, no less so than boys. Dad could never fix her hair just so, advise her on beauty and style, and teach her poise, as well as a mother. There is one thing that Dad can do, and with a ferocity unbecoming a mother and that is to warn his daughter of the wiles that certain boys will practice upon an unsuspecting virgin if they think they can get away with it. For the boyfriend, meeting Mom may be an awkward experience, but meeting Dad can remind him how precious life really is.

 

Dad’s example of behavior toward his wife shows the young lady what she can and should expect from boys. If they cannot live up to the standards of respect and honorable affection that Dad exemplifies, then she is much more likely to avoid falling into a trap.

 

For quite a time, American society seemed on the verge of dispensing with fathers entirely, even vilifying them to some extent. Fortunately, that has changed, and the importance of fathers is once again recognized.

 

Even though I lost my Dad when he was 88 years old (nearly ten years ago), I sometimes still mourn him, and still wish that I had him to turn to at times. However, his legacy of hard work, moral responsibility, and faithfulness, remains an enduring treasure in my life.

 

For those who have endured the loss of a father, or never known one, we should be sensitive and caring. They have indeed lost a treasure which can never be replaced. But in salving their loss, we should never under value it. Perhaps it is those fatherless children who can indeed place the highest value on fatherhood, who will understand how difficult it can be without a father. Perhaps it is they who will restore fatherhood to its rightful place in the American family.

 

So, to all fathers and grandfathers everywhere, I wish you a happy and meaningful Father’s Day. You may not have (yet) founded a nation, but you have indeed, in an important capacity, continued to fulfill the role that our Founding Fathers set forth, to secure the blessings of liberty for posterity.

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One thought on “The Significance of Fathers

  1. The displaced significance of fatherhood can be linked to the overall demise of the family as the stronghold of our society. As a result, the moral fabric of our culture has deteriorated and is crumbling. When we can identify true leaders in this great country, perhaps the emphasis on families will become priority again. As a child, I enjoyed the security and peace afforded by the family unit. I can only hope that I will inhabit this planet long enough to see the change needed to provide a healthy environment for our future generations of children. Otherwise, we will continue to experience the decline of America's character and spirit.

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