It makes no difference what name he goes by, a father’s role is the same. In his book, Iron John, Robert Bly uses a Grimm Brothers fairy tale to describe what it means to be a man and a father.
The more involved a father is in his child’s life, the more likely his child will be a responsible member of society. In my opinion, three important roles of a father are to be a protector, leader, and teacher all with love in their hearts.
Studies on father involvement and child well-being found “significant associations between positive father involvement and offspring well-being…” (Paul R. Amato and Fernando Rivera, “Paternal Involvement and Children’s Behavior Problems,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 61 (1999): 375-384.) There are many cases where the biological father is absent due to divorce, death, or single parenting by choice. Yet, daughters and sons need a mother and a father or male role-model to provide important psychological and emotional development.
“A loving and nurturing father is as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother.” (The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence,” Review of General Psychology 5.4 (2001): 382-405.) In the television series, This is Us, the father is portrayed as a sensitive, strong, loving man who teaches and listens to his children. Despite his untimely death, his influence continued in their lives.
Fathers spending regular time alone with their children translated into children who became compassionate adults. (Richard Koestner, et al., “The Family Origins of Empathic Concern: A Twenty-Six Year Longitudinal Study,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 58 (1990): 709-717). A common activity between fathers and sons is throwing a baseball to each other. In the movie, The Natural this is an activity when life and personal growth were taught. I know fathers who took their daughters out for a meal, on a short get-away, or a few hours spent together at a sporting, cultural, or music event.
On this Father’s Day, let us focus on the traits of a kind and loving father, who protects, leads, and teaches his children. Let’s bring these traits to our own family issues, our community’s problems, and our country’s challenges. Martin Luther King, Jr., Charles Darwin, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas More, Nicholas II, George Bush, Sr, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are just a few of many who were and are fathers that exemplify how a man needs to fill the role of fatherhood.
It is important to celebrate those in our lives who have been our fathers or positive role-models every day. Let us honor their roles not by just buying them neckties, shirts, books, etc., but by living our lives with dignity, compassion, peacefulness, and love.
Thank you for spending time reading this tribute to fathers. I welcome and appreciate your comments.