Dads really do count

Just a few days ago, I sat watching from my train seat as a dad got off with his two little sons. The younger son couldn’t have been more than five years old while the older one could probably pass for seven. What caught my attention was this big burly man who got on his knees at a train platform trying to smarten up His younger son’s uniform.

The cheerful boy then began to wave frantically to someone on the train, which made me realise they had been travelling from their destination as a family. It was therefore the mum that the boys were waving at. They looked content and happy, and like boys who were used to their dad, in spite of his work, taking them to school.

This dad that I saw did not look like a stay at home dad and looked more like a powerful CEO or at least a successful career man. Therefore there was no doubt in my mind that he, just like the mum sitting on the train to London, had a busy job to go to.

I couldn’t help but smile to myself and muse about just how important dads are to their kids. We must never believe what our world tries to sell to us: that fathers no longer count, that what a man can do, a woman can do just as well, and that this is the era of elite feminism.

It’s always been from the beginning and will always be that fathers are not only important donors of sperm for the fertilisation of a thriving egg, but they also play an important part in the caregiving of the seed that is formed. Some of the problems we are experiencing in society and families in our time are all evidence pointing at an unbalanced presence and commitment from both dads and mums.

You are probably thinking of the same old narrative of “children born in homes without dads ending up in prison and in gangs etc.” I know there’s evidence to suggest some of these facts, but what the evidence doesn’t highlight also are many successful and thriving men and women who for most part of their lives were raised by single parents. Think about Megan Markel, President Obama and many more. Maybe that’s a little far from home, I know many single parents who are raising their sons to be fine gentlemen and making responsible ladies of their girls.

That being said, I accept that some families may suffer more from the absence of a father in their children’s lives or perhaps because of the father’s irresponsible behaviour.
While I accept that two parents raising kids may do better than one parent, looking at things from a simplistic point of view i.e. socially, economically etc. However it isn’t much of just their presence but what they bring to the table and their intentionality.

Let me get back to my point. It is this intentionality by parents and especially dads as we commonly notice – whether in the relationship with the mother or not, that makes a difference.
Don’t get me wrong, it is much easier in my view to parent together successfully when both parents are one and in a mutually rewarding relationship. But I know this is not some people’s reality and can be an exception for some rather than the rule.

However, regardless of the narrative of the adult relationships that surround children, once a child or children are involved, it becomes a necessity for parents to be there for their
children. It may ring true that what one does not have, one cannot give. However a while back, I decided to move the goal post on this a little that what one does not have, one can give, if one is intentional about giving it.

This is what sets amazing dads apart from great and separates the good from the bad.
In spite of what we see around us or in us, great dads are still around, and regardless of what life is throwing at them, they are doing their utmost best to ensure that their lives and presence count.

These are dads who choose, in spite of their pedigree, marital status, education, wallet size or body size, to ensure that they, and not anyone else raise their children. They ensure they their kids are protected, provided for and that they feel loved and valued. Their situation may be far from perfect, but they keep striving to be the best version of themselves. They make unpopular decisions that will benefit their family and posterity, even if it’s made at a huge cost to them.

We can’t therefore ignore these dads, some of whom are long gone from the stage of our consciousness, and some that we experience on a daily basis. To do so because of what we see, hear or experience is a disservice. We must decry everything and anything that stands to undermine the role of dads in children’s lives. I understand that there are instances where some men and fathers have done more harm than good to their spouses, children and families. However we must be careful not to judge a philosophy by its abuse.

Dads do count and without dads there will be no mums, and without them there will be no children. Therefore I’m hoping that you will pause and reflect this weekend to celebrate every father you know; especially those doing and giving their best to their kids. I hope we will also go a little step further to encourage those who are struggling at being dads. Whether that is through a word of prayer, a smile, a gift, a hug or simply by giving acceptance. They too count and if we all rally round them, maybe they will be inspired to be more and all that they are capable of being.

Do join me in wishing the dads in my life and in yours a Happy Father’s Day! I pray that the Father of all Fathers continues to guide, protect and bless them so they can continue to be a blessing to their world and us.

If you are a dad and you are reading this, know this, you count. Your presence, efforts and choice to be a dad counts. For it to continue to count, you will have to continue to be intentional.