I’m a father. I shouldn’t be honored; I made a hash of being a father.
In fact, most fathers I know also think they failed fatherhood. Did we? I objectively think most of us meant well and tried hard. But intentions and effort aren’t enough. We had a big role in shaping the next generation: both men and women. But our role in preparing future fathers is critical. Mothers can’t do it. Family and community can help, but are no substitute for a present, engaged, loving father.
Is it such a hard job? It is. Almost impossible. And today men get precious little motivation or help from our culture. A society which degrades and marginalizes half its population is doomed. Ours is on that slippery slope.
Add to the difficulty that we generally learn how to be a father from our fathers, who were still sorting how what their father did right or wrong when they raised us. Many of us never figured it out. Some ran away physically or emotionally and didn’t even try. Others figured it out too late: after our sons were grown and fathers themselves, making the same mistakes but unwilling or unable to accept our advice on how to do better.
I’m not sure why I’m alive. But one of the roles I’ve taken these last forty years is that of a father. And I did a pretty poor job of it.
I apologize to both of my sons and to my wife for my failure.