The Honor of Fatherhood Post 3
Divorced non-custodial fathers often feel left out of the picture. They feel that because of the loss of their relationships, for whatever reason, with the children’s mother, they lose their relationship to their children. Most people start a family with the whole complete picture. Unfortunately, about half of all marriages do not make it these days. Large percentages of children live with one parent and have visitation with the other.
A divorce is between two adults, not the children. All discussion and decisions need to place the children as the highest priority with their best interests always in mind and heart. Their thoughts and feelings need expression. All decisions are adult decisions. The responsibility of choosing is overwhelming for children. If children know we love them, that they are losing a parent and that it is not their fault, they can handle divorce well. Keeping the children out of the middle is a show of love for them. Whoever is using the children as a weapon, as a confidant or as a pawn for mudslinging will always lose in the long run with the child. The divorced non-custodial father is still the father. Being actively involved in our children’s life enriches them and us.
Stepfathers provide another unique position. Many have become fathers by choice. They accept their roles as stepfathers because they have learned to love the children, even if they are not their own. Perhaps, they accepted the children initially because the woman they love was a package deal that came with a bonus. Cherish this additional gift rather than resent it. We all have history we bring with us. The dedication to the family gives everyone involved a sense of security. Stepfathers need to be mindful that the children have a father and they cannot be a replacement or make up for what is not there. They can only give from who they are and offer a unique relationship and a positive role model. The mother’s support, encouragement and non-interference can help the process of becoming a new family unit.
Father’s Day is a day to thank your children for the honor. On Father’s Day, I always gave my sons some note of thanks for what they give me as a father. This was my latest note to my sons.
Father’s Day 2000: It is said that spirits agree to meet in this lifetime to learn from each other. It is also said that the final examination of life is one question: What did you learn about love? So, we have agreed to teach each other about love. When I am asked about love, I will say that we all are worthy of love. Love is unconditional, and fear and ego are the only obstacles. When I am asked who were my greatest teachers, I will say my sons who I love more than life itself. While I am not always the best student, they are always in my heart teaching me.
My love for them never tires of learning. I have made many mistakes, for which I make eternal amends and ask forgiveness. My love for them helped me see we always do the best we can, give all we have to give, and any error needs only correction, not judgement or guilt.
Father’s Day is not just a day to give thanks to fathers. It is a day to be thankful for being a father. For this gift, I am most fortunate and thankful. For I would never have known the compassion, empathy, and patience of love had I not had my two favorite teachers. Happy Father’s Day 2011, my sons. Signed Dad
When my oldest son was about nine years old, he asked me if I knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. I told him as long as he was happy anything would be OK with me. He smiled and said he wanted to be a dad. Somehow, I apparently lead him to believe that being a father was a worthwhile endeavor. It is. How I father my children becomes a model for my grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. The honor of every day is the starting point of all tomorrows.
Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the honor of fatherhood on this journey.