“America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.”
― Stephen Colbert, I Am America
Abby said something to me, that opened up a new perspective in my mind. The revelation came after I asked her a question about her soon to be ex-husband, whom she had three children with. I asked her why she picked that man.
I exclaimed that a father to me is not someone who just fertilizes a female’s egg, and produces offspring, because let’s be honest, anyone with the right “equipment” can do that. A father is a role model and protector for the ones they love. I have learned that their role is just as important as a mother’s, in the development of self-esteem, psychological health and emotional stability. If a child just has a male figure in his life, that shows him/her love, that child is going to be so much more then if they were neglected. A father passes on wisdom, patience and self-worth. I am lucky to have such a father, it is the reason why subconsciously I have the confidence and love in myself to pursue my dreams, including this website.
I know too many children without a dad. I’m not sure what to think about that. I cannot understand how someone can produce a child and not want to be part of their life. Perhaps the dad
doesn’t like the mother, and associates his child with her, and wants nothing to do with either. I’m sure there are a lot of psychological variables that I am not considering since I have never been put into those shoes. This phenomenon seems to be happening more and more in our society. I am scared of the ramifications this is going to have on our culture, and our children. I wished that deep down sex did not produce children, which I admit is a terrible thought, but it is how I presently feel. I don’t think being a father is as biological as it is a state of mind. For example I have no children, but I have realized that I can be a father at any time, just by volunteering my time and wisdom to children. And when I say children, I mean anyone, for instance I could be father to my own father.
When I was talking to Abby, and asked her about why she produced children with a man she doesn’t even like right now, she just looked at me and smiled. I told her I did not mean to be judgmental, I was genuinely curious about the situation.
She told me how she thought she knew Greg, but one day woke up next to him and realized that she did not know him at all. Even though she was with him for over twenty years, she didn’t understand the first thing about him. She knew he loved watching football, and that he liked hanging out with his brothers, and that he loved drinking beer in his man cave after work. But she did not know what he believed in, or felt or thought about things on a deeper level. And the sad thing was he never asked how she really thought or felt about things either.
She went on to tell me that even though they both speak English, they were not speaking the same language. She said, it was as if we were both hypnotized, doing the dance of making a family, just going through the motions like everyone else. She told me that she never really loved him. But, after you put in so many years with someone, make children, create a life with that individual, you don’t want to admit failure. You don’t want to tell yourself that it was all for nothing, or entertain the idea you could have made a terrible mistake.
She said it wasn’t until years later that a deeper intuition spoke up inside of me that said, I have no idea who this man is and I am not happy. And that is when I questioned everything I was doing. I knew I had to face what I had been denying.
Abby told Greg how she felt, and he responded in anger. Greg said that their relationship didn’t need counseling. Abby, with a broken heart said she wanted to get to know him better, to find out who he really was. She then begin to realize that she was annoying him, and that she had been annoying him for years.
I admired Abby’s courage for facing her fears, and admitting what so many of us ignore. I began to think about Greg though, and his part in it. His role as the father, or at least his duty as a responsible human being. Why would he produce children with someone he didn’t really even like? Later on I would ask him that same question, and he never did have an answer for me, just said it was what Abby wanted. That answer made me angry, because of the weight of the decisions being made.
A Father is not just a figure to raise the children, but a figure to help raise the family, including the person they are with. It is someone who thinks before they act, and is willing to sacrifice for what is right not just for them, but for everyone.
I guess this post has me put me on a soap box, but sometimes I have to write what I feel. If you think I am being harsh, please write back in the comments. I want to learn about what you have to say. I am sure there are many pieces to this puzzle I do not understand, if you are a father and I have offended you I’m sorry. I want to learn from everyones perspective.