Parenting is such a wonderful journey that goes by so quickly. It fills you with more happiness than anything in the world. From the moment you lay eyes on your beautiful baby, you feel as if you are bursting with as much love as your heart can possibly hold. From the adoring, helpless infant laying in your arms that looks to you for everything to the bittersweet transition from all dependent to independent. One minute you are bringing them home wrapped in a blanket and the next you are sending them out into the world to create lives of their own. And it happens just as quickly, much as we try desperately to hold onto the time and savor it, it is all too fleeting.
Each parent plays a pivotal role in the development of a child. How these roles differ is vast. Each gender has much to offer a child and it is this balance that helps raise a child into a loving and good person. Often, we look at parenting as being primary a mother’s job. In doing this, we tend to sometimes overlook the importance a father brings to his child. The roles of both parents are crucial to a child’s normal development.
As a mother, we have an innate desire to nurture and protect our children. Fathers do too. But how we go about this can vary greatly. Mothers see the world in terms of their kids, while a father sees their kids in terms of the world. A mother strives to protect their child from all outside dangers where a father strives to ready their child to be able to handle the world around them. A clear example is how we hold our children as mothers close to us, in a protective way. We face them towards us. A father holds a child, while still actively in a protective way, but facing outward so that a child sees the world around them.
Growing up, I knew that both of my parents would protect me with their lives. The love they had for our family was evident in everything they did. My mother was the homemaker, the nurturer.. My father was the provider, the protector. To a child, nothing can compare to the security of knowing you were loved.
I looked to my mother for patience and understanding. I looked to my father for strength and guidance. I knew with every decision that my mother made for us was made with her desire to protect us from hurt or harm. I knew with every decision my father made for us was made with his desire to teach us to be able to live in a world that wasn’t always nice and fair.
The way fathers play with children differs as well. As mothers, we look for activities that are safe and controlled. Fathers give children a world in which they can play harder and learn the importance of playing for the fun of it. The way fathers play with their children teaches them valuable social skills. It teaches children how to negotiate and be leaders. The time a father spends playing with his children is invaluable and it opens their eyes to a world outside of the protective arms of the mother.
When I think of the importance of my Dad in my life as a child, I think of how it was his example that taught me to not just believe in my dreams, but to feel confident in the fact that I had the power to make them a reality. He taught me that life was something to be taken seriously but not so seriously that I forgot to stop and reflect in the beauty of life around me. He taught me that my biggest worry never equaled my greatest joy. And he taught me that the love of a father is a love that lasts far longer than the breath he took while on this earth.
A father has a lot of things to offer his children and the biggest gift he can give them is to be there for them. Be the man that they turn to and respect. Be the role model that helps them to rise up and achieve their dreams. Listen to them, dream with them, play with them and know that your role in their life is as unique as it is crucial.