Why Fatherhood Matters
Last month, I wrote an article about motherhood. After it went live, I greedily checked Facebook for likes and comments. When I saw a friend-of-a-friend had shared my article I, of course, clicked over to see what he had to say.
His intro to my article? Not so flattering. “As usual, no one cares about the dads.” Ouch. That gave me pause for so many reasons.
But most importantly, because fatherhood does matter.
Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach Toni Coleman, LCSW explains, “Fathers have a significant impact on their daughters' emotional development, self-esteem, and future relationships with men. A father's love helps his daughter feel secure, desirable, and valuable, and their father-daughter relationship provides her with a healthy model for what a good relationship should be like.”
Often, it takes becoming a mother and looking back at our childhood with this new lens to realize how very important a father truly is.
Six women share the impact their father had on them. Each one is important and does, indeed, matter.
Jana Anthoine writes about life, laughter, and loss at her site, Jana's Thinking Place.
About the biggest impact her father had on her, Jana says, “My dad was and still is a hardworking man. But he has always taken time for small, fun moments, whether it was to quickly throw together a balloon animal when we were sick, to swing by the grocery store for junk food on father/daughter nights, or for the two of us to stop at every Welcome Center on I-95 between Georgia and Maine in the summer of '97. He's always taken time, above everything else, for fun. I try to live like this every day–simple and fun–because of him!”
About the biggest impact her father had on her, Kim says, “Growing up, I was my dad's sidekick, going along on car rides to the hardware store and playing frisbee and catch in the street outside our house. With my mum, he created a magical childhood for me and my sister–full of fun and adventure, camping, first plane rides, and when we were really bored, spinning us around our shiny basement floor in an old blanket. I'm sure he said many wise dad-type things to me over the years, but it was while going through a rough patch in my 20s of career woes and a breakup that he said the one phrase that has resonated through the rest of my adult life–‘Sometimes you just have to walk it, babe.' It reminds me that there is a light at the end of any challenging tunnel and to just keep moving forward.”
Julie Burton is a freelance writer and blogger, a mother of four, and a yoga instructor who writes about motherhood at Unscripted Mom.
About the biggest impact her father had on her, Julie says, “Sprawled out on the couch one evening, I was watching a particularly touching episode of Little House on the Prairie. Tears began to form in my 11-year-old eyes when I saw Pa choke up about his daughter's blindness. Unbeknownst to me, I was not alone in my sorrow. I heard sniffling behind me and turned to see my dad standing there, his flushed face overcome with emotion. He must have been walking by, but stopped, as he was drawn into the captivating scene on TV–just as he is fully and passionately engaged in the scenes of his own life every day. My dad is fueled by an intense passion to live and to love with his whole heart. Through his example, he has shown me what it looks like and feels like to deeply love and care for others–that it is OK to be vulnerable, and that showing emotion, whether it is through tears of sadness or expressing joy by dancing your heart out in the kitchen to Bruce Springsteen, is the key to living wholeheartedly. And I am grateful for these impactful lessons he taught me, not with his words, but with his actions.”
Kathy Glow is a mom to five boys, a writer, and a teacher who blogs at Kissing the Frog.
About the biggest impact her father had on her, Kathy says, “The biggest impact my dad has had on me has come in the most quiet of ways. Never a man to say much, he speaks volumes by his actions. He shows up for people. He goes all out to help family members, friends, and neighbors in need. He doesn't just do half a job either. If he's going to do something for someone, he does it all the way. And he doesn't expect anything in return. He's shown up for me many times–when I needed a friend, a cheerleader, a helper, and most importantly, being there and asking no questions when it comes to helping with my children. He does what he does out of love and respect.”
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a freelance writer who writes good humor, good heart, and good stories at writerbonnie.com
About the biggest impact her father had on her, Bonnie says, “Dad is my living example of fortitude. I was 7 when Mom died. We moved. Dad built a five-room addition on our new house. He taught me to use a drill. Wherever he marked an X on the new drywall, I installed a screw. If he had a bad work day, Dad would grab the chainsaw and head up the hill towards a dead tree. Labor provided him good release. When my stepmom left, he built a deck. He needed something to do. Something to fix. He never gave up. Most of all, he never gave up on me. ‘You always have to learn the hard way, don't you?' he'd say to me. And when I made big mistakes, he'd say, ‘After all the things I've done in my life, I have no room to judge. You're going to be OK.' Thanks, Dad. I am OK.”
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel is the co-creator of the illustrated humor blog Science of Parenthood, which uses faux math and snarky science to “explain” baffling parenting situations.
About the biggest impact her father had on her, Norine says, “My father, Perry Dworkin, DO, is the kindest, most generous, most loving man I know. He taught me a number of key life lessons, including:
1. “Aim high. When I was a little girl and expressed a desire to be a nurse, he said, ‘Be the doctor.'
2. “Things aren't important. People are. When I totaled his Italian sports car at age 16, his first words were, ‘I don't care about the car, was anyone hurt?'
3. “Unconditional love and acceptance. When I came out in an essay on the SoberMommies blog as a recovering cocaine addict, he (and my mom) both praised the essay as the best thing I'd ever written and said how proud they were of me for beating my addiction and being brave enough to be a role model for other moms with substance abuse problems.
“As a teenager, I tested my parents' patience–as teens are wont to do–in ways that confounded their understanding. But even when my father was most furious with me, he would always say, ‘I don't like you right now. But I will always love you.' ”
What impact did your father have on you?