I didn’t meet my father for the first time until I was 18 years old. To be completely frank, there was never a lot of longing inside me to meet or know him. I was a momma’s boy, I’ll admit. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t need a father. I most certainly did.
One could make the argument that my passionate personality stems from the fact that, growing up, I subconsciously believed that I needed to teach myself, take care of myself, and make myself strong. Deep down, I believed life is war, and that I needed to be my own army since I can’t rely on those around me. In a sense, I still think that way. Relying on others has always proved near impossible for me. The reason for this stems beyond my relationship (or lack thereof) with my father, as anyone who has read this blog should know by now.
When I met my father at 18, I quickly learned why I never knew him. He didn’t simply admit that he didn’t raise any of his many kids, he was proud of it. He was proud of the fact he values money above people, including family. When I was out in public with him, he ogled at nearly every young, sometimes underage, girl we passed. He admitted to marrying a woman long ago (not my mother) just for some kind of financial advantage. Basically, the guy was a degenerate, and proud of it. Nothing more than a sperm donor.
Whether you’re a boy or girl, we all need fathers. A good father has seen things, and been places. He shares the wisdom he gained over a lifetime. He should teach you skills. If you’re a boy, he should teach you that the true definition of being a man is defending those who cannot defend themselves, like he did with you when you were an infant. If you’re a girl, a father should prove that not all men are unfaithful, selfish scumbags, and that men can love their girls unconditionally and eternally.
Strength, self-control, endurance, knowledge, wisdom, loyalty, patience… These are the hallmarks of a good father. Fathers ought to be central to any family, not because men are superior to women (they’re equal), but because men are supposed to be the one in a family whom the rest of the family can lean on. Men can take a hit, physically and emotionally.
My father shamelessly slept with a multitude of women throughout his life, making babies with a lot of them, and never caring for those babies. He destroyed families as soon as he made them. This is part of the reason I have nothing but contempt and hatred for people who rip families apart. My father destroyed the families all of his children were supposed to have. (My mother did, too, but that’s not the point right now.) Being a father is a sacred task, and I believe a man’s level of commitment to his children is the greatest proof of his character. A father ought to be committed to the mother of his children as well.
We live in a cruel world, where people, machines, and Mother Nature care nothing about you. Fathers are essential to shield their children from the dangers of the world, and to teach their children how to survive in the world once they’re on their own.
Looking at myself, I can and must admit that one of the reasons I am emotionally damaged is because I never had a true father. I had many father figures, such as foster dads. One of them, who I’ve always called Uncle Larry, is the closest I ever had to a true father, but he took care of me for less than three years, from age 7 to 10. He unfortunately couldn’t raise me for all, or even most, of my childhood.
I was adopted at 10 years old by a couple, but the adoptive father I attained was impersonal, unwise, weak, and believed that all he needed to do in raising me was let me live in his house and frequently remind me how I didn’t measure up to his standards. A small, small part of me cannot completely blame him, because I was not biologically his child. I was someone else’s. Nonetheless, he signed up for the job of raising me past age 10, and utterly failed.
Now, I am a father. After seeing countless men fail at the job, I am terrified even more at failing in some way. Loved ones have consoled me in this, saying that I will inevitably make mistakes along the way just like everyone else does…, but that doesn’t make me more confident. I won’t accept failure in raising my daughter. Whatever mistakes I make I might not forgive myself for. Ironically, the intense stress of trying to be perfect is already lessening my ability to actually be a perfect father. Trying too hard can cripple one’s ability to do anything at all.
If I’m overprotective, that’s bad. If I’m overly cautious, that’s bad. Her food could be contaminated, any school she attends could have a creep or two among the faculty….. What if I become so terrified something bad will happen to my daughter that I never let her play with other kids, get in another car, or even be outside at all? Where is the right balance? Fathers must also be able to cut some slack, but any amount of slack I cut makes me feel like I’m putting my daughter in harm’s way.
I suppose this is part of being strong. I must accept that bad things will happen, and all I can do is be as prepared for it as possible without overdoing it. I must properly deal with bad things when they happen and not be crushed by them. If I can’t be strong, how can I be strong for her?
Being a father has always been my greatest desire. I can only hope that the day will come when my daughter looks me in the eyes and says she’s happy I am her father.