We all have a different idea of what it means to be a father. To some, it’s merely about providing and protecting their child, whereas to others it can be summed up in taking your son or daughter to soccer practice and paying for child support. I am not self-righteous enough to tell you whether those visions of fatherhood are flawed, but I can tell you that it is far from what I think the job description is.
For all of the joys that came along with a man raising children, there are also several rough patches that present themselves in which a dad is not exactly sure of just how to proceed with a given situation. For the most part, it’s all instinct. Much like it is for mothers, fathers are not given a manual to guide them every step of the way.
Hence, we are left to ourselves to figure out how to be the best parents and role models we could possibly be when raising our children. With today being Father’s Day, I sat down with my godfather and uncle and thought about my own father. It made me think about how far I have come as an individual and how similar I was to the man with whom I share both flesh and blood.
In looking back on the decisions I have made, I see the sacrifices that my parents made in raising me.
Accepting the responsibility of being called “dad” isn’t about making time for your child every now and then, occasionally helping out with homework or giving out advice when needed. A real father is always there, even when he is not needed. His presence should be like that of a shadow; something that you more often than not take for granted but always notice at the most awkward moments.
But when things get rough, you always know that your father will bail you out.
On this Sunday night I sat and watched the movie John Q. and then and there, it captured everything that men should know about what it takes and what it means to be the patriarch of a family.
John Q. Archibald could not and would not watch his son die of heart failure. Instead, he took a whole hospital hostage with the hope of getting him the help and treatment needed to save his life. And when all failed, Archibald never blinked or doubted what his singular most important calling in life was: to take care of his son and make him live.
Archibald was ready to commit suicide on hospital grounds for doctors to take his heart and place it in the chest of his son and thus allow him to live his life. John Q. on the other hand would have died, but would have survived through the younger Archibald.
I can only hope that my beautiful 12-year old daughter knows that if we were faced with that situation, I would do the exact same thing. Why?
Because that’s what fathers do…