We all should be absolutely alarmed by the current state of fatherhood in this country. It is terribly troubling that our society accepts fatherhood as a luxury, not a necessity. An involved, loving, active father has become the exception in this country, and it's time we make it the norm again.
On the surface, there are some things that only a father can provide his children. Although a mother is vital to a child's development, there are some activities that a dad just makes perfect. Shooting baskets or going ice skating becomes more than a bonding experience between father and child, it becomes a moment when boys learn how to carry themselves as men, how to strive for a goal, work hard, and strengthen their male personality. It becomes a moment when daughters learn how a man should properly treat a woman, interact with males, try their best, overcome adversity, and strive for their potential. There is little in life that can simulate these fathers – child moments that turn ordinary days into treasured lifelong memories.
Like most loving fathers, my father expected a lot out of me and my siblings. He constantly encouraged me and pushed me to reach my potential, but occasionally - and only when necessary - he would use his lash to get my attention. His stern face or grave words would let me know that my behavior or attitude was out of line. My healthy fear for him in these rare moments kept me focused on living a healthy, productive life. I remember his strong grip as he taught me to shake hands like a gentleman, I remember his huge arms wrapping me tight after tough family football losses, and I remember my father's extraordinary courage to do the right thing regardless of the situation. I would never be where I am today without my mother, but my father taught me how to be a man.
An active father does more than help his son grow into a man or daughter grow into a woman he provides the spiritual leadership that every family needs. My father taught me how to handle difficult situations by keeping perspective. He taught me that faith comes first, family comes second, then friends; after that, its education and vocation.