Yes. That would be absurd. No good father wants his entire child’s life to be all about him anyway. No good father does what he does for his child looking for devotion, and admiration, and public praise. A good father needs none of that. He just gets it, and he gets it automatically because of the effort he has put in.
Yet that is exactly how you have fathered me, isn’t it. That is what you’ve done to me. That is what you have wanted out of all of this. And apparently it’s my fault that I am now at the point where I don’t really want you in my life again. That’s what someone told me, anyway. They told me it was my fault. They told me that you told them that. I don’t know who to believe.
But I do know what I believe.
I believe that a real dad is the one who shows up.
A real dad is the one who hands out the tough messages and discipline himself.
A real dad is the one who is clear and succinct with what he needs from his child, and he is a clear communicator with his child. Not with some other person. Not with some relayer of information.
A real dad drops everything to be a physical part of his child’s most important moments and biggest victories. He is there. Period.
A real dad cries with his child when life gets too complicated, and then sits down and makes a personalized game plan with his child of what to do next.
A real dad doesn’t have a bazillion kids, leave them all on their own to raise themselves, go off and do his own thing, and blanket parent all of his kids through emails and letters and calls to their neighbors.
A real dad doesn’t sit around and let the most awful and unfixable things happen to his kids, which he so easily could have prevented had he been there. Sure, a real dad lets his child experience the harshness and challenges of life. He lets his kid learn valuable lessons that will shape and build the future, but he does not sit back and let his child be murdered or molested or abused while he does nothing.
A real dad doesn’t pick and choose favorites. He doesn’t ignore one child and favor another. If anything, he gives more of himself to the child with whom he has the strained relationship, not less.
A real dad does not push away those children of his who don’t kiss his butt and sing his praises and declare themselves His best children.
So forgive me, Dad, if I am done telling the world how great you were and are in my life just because seemingly everyone else around here has always told me just how great you are.