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Fathers and dads

June 1, 2012 - John Stack
What is it to be a father? Or to be a dad? Anyone can father children, as evidenced by Desmond Hatcher of Tennessee who has at least 33 children with 11 or more ‘baby mamas’ and ‘surprisingly can’t keep up his child support. As Charles said to Hawkeye ‘Whereas I had a father, you had a dad’.

What’s it take to be a dad? There are things you HAVE to do, like going to your kids games, concerts and appointments. You also have to show up for teacher’s conferences and keep in touch with teachers who your child may be struggling in their class. Dads coach Little league, soccer, Odyssey of the Mind. They take their kids to dance class and play practice.

The easy part is going to the dance recitals, the football games, the graduations.

I often get those quizzes in email or facebook that ask silly questions about you. One is often, ‘when is the last time you cried?’ Invariably, I put April 7, 2003 (SU won the National Championship) . That may not be true. Watching your 5 year old daughter’s ballet recital and you get emotional, that’s a dad. After being estranged for a couple years from your teenage son, only to have him come back into the fold and graduate from college? It gets awful tough keeping a dry eye as they play ‘Pomp and Circumstance’.

But its also hard.Try having stepkids. You love them to death. You hope for the best. You treat them as your own biological kids…but you bite your lip when they say ‘you’re not my father!!’ as an unruly teen. When everyone else has told you to allow your kid to fail, and you are up at 1 AM helping get his homework done so he doesn’t fail. When you wait all year to go to the Winter Carnival Gala Parade but your 4 year old isn’t feeling well, you stay home while everyone else goes to town. The too many visits to the ER where you sit with your kid on Christmas morning who just nearly cut off his finger using a knife to open his little sisters present.

How about real hard? You get divorced. As a dad, you drive the 2 hours twice a week to see them. You learn what is most important, and give your time to them when you have them. Its driving half an hour to coach their hockey team in another town 3 times a week and you never complain.

Its also hard NOT giving the kids something. You can’t pay for a four year college when your child is struggling in high school. You have to take away video games when they don’t do homework. If your son wants those new Air Jordans, he better find a job.

Its is tough being a dad. But, when your son blocks a punt or intercepts a pass and you scream your brains out, or your daughter is dancing as a fairy, or you hold your newborn granddaughter in your arms, you know why you signed up for this. You know why you are a dad.


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