Jun 21, 2010
In a few days it would be my seventh year as a father. It’s more than that, actually, if you consider the time my first daughter in my wife’s womb. And it has been such an interesting journey since then.
Attending Sunday mass this Fathers’ day, the priest gave an interesting deconstruction of how a father should be. He gave us three Ds for fatherhood: Dedication, Decision-making, and a willingness to Die to oneself.
Dedication means being there for your family, in your own way, no matter what. It means doing what’s necessary for one’s family. It means working for one’s family. And sometimes it means playing–especially applicable if you have kids. A lot of fathers today have lost this sense of dedication. Sometimes, I feel and think as if I’ve been missing out, as well.
Decision-making involves having strong character. While, arguably, deicions in a family are jointly made with the wife (and sometimes the kids), it’s often the head of the household who has a final say on decisions. And in this case, being strong and brave does not necessarily mean that it’s your choices and decisions that have to be followed. But, it’s doing something or deciding on something even if it’s not necessarily the most pleasant or the easiest thing to do.
Dying to oneself is perhaps the biggest and most challenging requirement of being a good father, as the priest’s homily stressed. It’s not physically dying (although it is a possibility). Rather, it’s prioritizing your family’s needs over all else. It’s pushing yourself to the limit to give them a good living. It’s giving your kid the best cut of meat when you’re starving. It’s letting your kid watch cartoons when your favorite show is on at the other channel. It’s paying for a good education even when the same amount of money can buy you a lot of gadgets.
Sometimes, it’s not even being the good guy that you “die” to yourself. Sometimes, being a father may have to entail being the bad guy–the one who scolds, who punishes, if for the good of your child or the family. It’s earning everyone’s ire for doing what you think is right.
In other words, it means sacrifice. It doesn’t necessarily mean being on the losing end of the deal. It doesn’t mean you’d rather be selfish. But it simply means showing your love through simple, meaningful, and often practical ways.
Sometimes we forget how it is to be good fathers. Sometimes we forget to be good parents, good spouses, good siblings, children, friends, even. What’s important is to make a conscious effort to try becoming a little better each day.
Fathers’ day is not only for commemorating dads all around. It’s also a day for us dads to reflect on how we have been as fathers to our children, and husbands to our wives. It’s a day for us to try and see how we can do better. And with optimism, this should not be the end-all be-all of fatherhood, as there are 364 other days of the year one should constantly and consistenly be a good father and husband.
image credit: flickr/gloq