With Father’s Day soon approaching, it would only be right that I address this. If you’re familiar with my “Moments”, then you know how much and how consistently I stress the need for great parenting. That is more than just being in the same house, buying video games or handing the other parent money once a month, I mean “parenting”. This time I wanted to shine the light on a very important and often overlooked issue…and you guessed it….Father’s this one’s for you.
As men we are taught, told, and molded to be these pillars of strength. From birth it is stressed to us that “men don’t cry” and how we are to be the protectors and providers for our families. I can remember my father getting up early in the morning to work a long physical day, just to come home, nap, eat dinner, and head off to his night job. Never was there a question of what my responsibilities would be as a man. He instilled me with an insane work ethic and drive, one that my siblings also share.
Often we label the father as the protector/provider and the mother as the love/nurturer. Feelings are to be learned from our mothers. She is the one that brings that degree of sensitivity and compassion to our souls. But just as we learn strength from the women in our lives, we do or do not learn to process emotions from the men.
Now I have on many occasions ridiculed male sensitivity. I have mocked and chastised the males of this world to no end for acts of excessive emotional states and all out Bitchassness. This is in no way a retraction to those statements. What this is however is stating the necessity for fathers to teach their children, sons and daughters, how to RECEIVE love. Like I said this isn’t about converting a man into a skinny jeans wearer, this is about teaching by example, how to receive the love that is being given. My father was great at leading by example in the provider department…but presenting a homemade ashtray and a hug would be met by a puzzled look as if it were the final question on “Jeopardy”.
We’ve all seen those stereotypical sitcoms with the hard-nose dad and the emotional mom. She tries to be loving and sweet and he responds with sarcasm, and every so often he has a weak moment (when the kids are gone) and shows a softer side. If ever there was a television character like my father, it was “James” from “Good Times”. He was hard working, blunt, brash, and for some reason just looked slightly pissed off on any given day…and you didn’t get too many of those moments.
Fathers, those “weak” moments are what show your children it is ok to be loved. As a child, we use our fathers as a blueprint for male behavior. Not teaching your children how to receive love will have your daughters chasing behind every emotionally unavailable man they can find and your sons throwing away every good woman they meet.
Father’s Day is about appreciating the men out there who are doing what they’re supposed to, the men that get up every day and are an active positive force in their children’s lives. To those hard working, dedicated, and relentless parents…thank you, keep up to good work. And if you’re a “James” out there, just take the ashtray…even if you don’t smoke.
Happy Father’s Day.
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