Setting a good example for your children takes all the fun out of middle age. ~William Feather, The Business of Life, 1949
Seeing fatherhood as a child is vastly different than seeing fatherhood as a wife and mother.
When I was pregnant with our first child, Dale and I had lofty ideas of how to parent. It was going to be a glorious adventure. We would agree on everything and our children would be compliant, gracious and would rise up and bless us each and every day. Yes, we were that naive.
Watching my husband become a father was different than I thought it would be. The joy of the early morning hours when our oldest was born was beautiful. When he came to visit us hours later the realization of fatherhood was evident on his face. I have also seen it on my sons in law. The joy and happiness is radiating but the responsibility of fatherhood is a detail in their eyes and jawline that wasn’t there previously.
As babies change worlds and families, I think it is easier for a mom. Moms naturally envelope their children. Fathers are sort of on the outside. They can only do so much as far as feeding and changing diapers and clothing them goes. A father’s hands are not made for the delicate newborn’s items. A father may be adept, but a father’s hands are hands that work. They fix things. A father does things, fumbling with tiny snaps and fasteners is foreign to them. A father is a father.
Children see their father as a figure that is solid, sometimes resolute. A wife sees the man she fell in love with struggle with decisions concerning the best way to do things. She sees that fathers unconditionally love their children. She has had conversations with her spouse, and seen how they struggle at times to be the loving, easy going nurturer instead of the one who makes decisions for the good of the child.
Fatherhood is a complicated business. Raising a child is a responsibility. A good man takes that responsibility seriously. I am blessed to have married such a man. My daughters also are blessed with good men.
“Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.” Proverbs 23:22 (NLT)