Strategies and mindsets for developing Marriage Mastery, Parent Training, and Self-Mastery.
See Jonathan's other related blog projects in the sidebar:
- The Q&A Series
- The GR Masters Project
- The 52 Love Songs Project
- The 365 Love Quotes Project
- Rock Therapy
- In the News
This video, "A Father Indeed," is one of my favorite examples of a simple man who quietly excels at fatherhood.
You may have a great relationship with your child(ren)'s mother or you may not. But you should always respect her. Why? Well, there may be many reasons but here's one: She gave you your child (whom I'm assuming that you, like me, consider your greatest treasure). Now let's look at the basic math here:
Your male contribution to the birth of your child:
- Pre-conception: 5-15 minutes of fun (orgasm achieved—woo hoo!).
Her female contribution to the birth of your child:
- Pre-conception: 5-15 minutes of possible fun (may or may not have orgasmed—huh?)
- Conception to birth: 15,960 minutes (average length is 266 days) of:
- body changes/upheaval,
- sleepless nights,
- back aches,
- hormonal changes,
- mood swings,
- immediate attachment to the child from the moment she knows she's pregnant, which comes with constant vigilance and worry about the child's well-being,
- weight gain,
- taking all kinds of vitamins and supplements,
- OB/GYN examinations,
- carrying an actual moving, living being inside her womb,
- and finally hours and hours of labor (yikes!).
- AND a full willingness to go through all of that for YOU and YOUR child. Seriously, what man in his right mind would not give some serious and sincere due props for that?!
All that is for just ONE child. If you have more than one child then multiply the above accordingly. For me, my wife has given me four children which means her birth to conception grand total is 63,840 minutes to my contribution of 20-60 minutes. There's nothing for me or any father to feel bad about or guilty that we didn't contribute more--that's just all we can do. But, there is clearly a LOT for us to be grateful for and I sure hope the mother of your children knows how much you appreciate her sacrifice for your treasures.
PS: It's been 11 years since the birth of our last child and I'm still in awe of the above numbers.
Happy Fathers Day! To those of you who have, or had, great dads, rejoice!
I know, however, there are many who had absent fathers, abusive "sperm donors" and/or down right crummy dads. For them Fathers Day isn't a day of pleasant memories of the man who mentored them into adulthood, but is a day of harsh memories and broken hearts.
Honoring the Dishonorable?
Further, many feel guilty or conflicted when it comes to the spiritual injunction to "honor thy father." How does one honor a father who lived dishonorably through broken vows, infidelity, being a deadbeat dad, absent, neglectful or abusive? You don't have to love him. You may or may not be able to forgive him yet (or ever, depending). So what do you do? How can you honor a dishonorable father?
The answer is simply this: You "honor thy father" by doing better than he did and by passing on better than you got.
And that you can do.
Update 10-8-12: In regards to honoring the unhonorable, today I found this great answer on Quora by Jon Davis, "Perhaps the best thing my father ever taught me is that there are times when you will only make the problem worse with your continued presence." Take a moment to read the whole thing. Very touching and insightful.
Update on Father's Day 2015: I received the following note from a friend and colleague. She has allowed me to share it here anonymously:
"I read with great interest your article on honoring the dishonorable father. Thank you for the link to that...and I appreciate your comments. My Dad was a horrible man... and each Father's Day is kind of a mini PTSD episode. Thankfully, it gets smaller each year, but each year is still painful.
"My father was a horrible father—a selfish, mean, abusive drunk. He died over 20 years ago, and I can honestly say I don't miss him, and I rarely think of him. He bet a family friend that I would NEVER finish college. And I did... with honors. He died four months before my graduation. I buried my honors cords with him along with a note describing my feelings of hate and love for him... and my forgiveness... despite the fact that he refused to reconcile our relationship before he died. His exact words..."Not interested."
"He was a favorite in his AA community, but he was not real. I think he would rather have died than admit some of the truths about himself... and the truth that he had been sexually abused by his father (which we found out after he died). After his death we also learned that he had sexually abused my older brother... and on a certain level I believe that I always knew that. What I learned from him was fear, guilt and shame. I truly cannot honor him in any way. But I do, with every part of myself, honor God, my Father in Heaven, who has taught me that it's okay to honor myself and my ability to find a better way. I also honor great fathers, like you, whose little girls won't have to feel like I did for many years.
"Thanks for listening, my friend. Happy Father's Day!"
Her story is EXACTLY what this post was about. I asked her if I could share it as I think others need to know they aren't alone and there are those who somehow found a way through the mess—with grace and dignity and a life well-lived. I sure do honor her, and all like her, for being chainbreakers and forces for good in the world.
Peace to all.
Want to be a great dad? Study the masters... More posts on being a father, husband and man.