Thank You, Fathers

As featured in The Reflector:

I write a lot about motherhood. I don’t mention fatherhood very often, but only because I’m not a man and my experience with being a father is nonexistent.

I’m not going to suddenly pretend that I know what it means to a man to be a father. I’m also not going to pretend that I understand their responsibilities or their fears or their struggles. But I am going to tell you that they’re wonderful and necessary.

Not only was this past weekend Thanksgiving, but my eight year old son was being baptized. For both of those reasons, I had a house full of people. And when I say full, I mean the kind of crowd where if you turn around in the space you currently occupy, you’re likely to trip over a Lego castle or send another person flying simply by making the turn. I have a large, supportive family and my home was happily and crazily full.

In the middle of all of that chaos I witnessed fatherhood at its finest.

I witnessed a father who skillfully and quickly took care of the critical health needs of his baby girl with efficiency equal to that of her mother. I watched this father, so willing to care for his wife and children, sacrifice his own needs and comfort for theirs. And not just once, but over and over he came through. He softly touched that sweet baby’s head. It made me smile. He was constant and faithful and completely self-sacrificing. There is a man.

I observed another man who is not even a father yet himself, love on a mob of nieces and nephews. He catered to their shenanigans and entertained even the wildest. He willingly loves every one of those kids. There is a man.

There was another father who confided that he thought he’d rock at the parenting thing. He thought he’d be awesome at it, but felt he’d had a rude awakening. I’m here to tell him that he IS awesome at it. I watched him feed, clothe, care for, and play with his children. I watched him participate. He was there. He was involved and happy. I smiled at his goodness and his humility and the amazing example that he is for his sons. There is a man.

I watched another man who in a few short months will become a father to his first, care for his incredibly sick wife. He didn’t complain, he didn’t act annoyed, he just moved his feet when she couldn’t move her own. Caring for their mother is a critical part of taking care of your children. He gets it and he’s doing his job. There is a man.

I witnessed my own husband fulfilling one of his most sacred responsibilities as he baptized our son. Few things make me happier than watching him exercise his righteous leadership in our home. His example for our son in that moment was irreplaceable. There is a man.

And there was my own dad, the patriarch of the gigantic clan that invaded our little house. I overheard snippets of advice and counsel and I saw the smiles and hugs and love that were offered. My heart overflowed with gratitude for this dad who continued to be an example of goodness and love to his fully grown children. There is a man.

I’m telling you this because I’m tired of listening to the barrage of women who are telling the world that men are worthless. I’m sick of hearing broken women lament about there being no good men left in the world. I’m tired of a society that is selling the idea that fathers are unnecessary and irresponsible and inconsequential.

Please stop listening to it. It’s insanity. There are good men in the world. There are amazing fathers. There are men who rise up and fulfill all of their responsibilities. There are men who know how to love. There are men who choose all that is right and good. There were six of them sitting in my house on Saturday.

So amidst all of my gratitude for my own motherhood, I also want to express my gratitude for fatherhood. I want to say thank you to all of the men who give our sons something better to aspire to than what our society is telling them they are. I want the men of the world to know that we love you. We need you. Our children need you. Thank you for honoring your responsibilities and for loving who you chose to be. You give me hope.

Seriously, tell me what you think.