I wish all of the fathers who read this blog a great day. Once a year people dear to us acknowledge [or fail to] our unique role in their lives. Last night on a plane from Baltimore to Chicago, a young black youth boarded our plane and sat by himself across the aisle from us. A 20-something woman sat next to him and the two had a great conversation. I noted that she asked about his siblings and mom, but not father. Actually, later on in the conversation, he mentioned his dad in a very positive way. Coincidentally, he had been attending a science camp at the Naval Station and he intends to pursue a career in science in the Navy.
Lots of black children that I know have no dad; of course they had a ‘father’ in the scientific sense, but no dad. That discussion is for another thread at a later date. So, how was your dad? Mine was already in his 40’s when I was born. He was a product of the Great Depression, with parents who were immigrants from Germany. My father was the bread winner for them and for his sister and her family as well. That delayed his own marriage and future children. As a result, lots of factors went into the formulation of his idea of what a nurturing father or dad should be.
I’ve often heard, especially at funerals, the phrase, ‘Well, he did the best he knew how.’ So then, the question might be: how does a man learn to be a good dad? Further, do fathers want to be good dads or do children just get tossed into the mix? Did you strive to be a good dad to your kids? Did you have the modelling, the knowledge, the instructions to achieve that goal? Or did stuff just happen along the way?
Perhaps you did the best you knew how.