Fathering, like parenting in general, happens when we are in the middle of something else. The most profound fathering occurs, I believe, not when we’ve settled in for a profound discussion or as we tell our children what to do or how to behave (although those are important).
Much to the chagrin of most parents I know, the most significant moments of parenting occur when we are least prepared for them. The awkward, stumbling response when our child asks a question we weren’t prepared for; the willingness to let a child “help” with the project at hand even if it is easier to do it ourselves; the realization that your children have been watching the way you interact with their other parent, both positively and negatively — these are the places where parenting — where fathering — occur.
As Father’s Day approaches, it is good to reflect on those unexpected moments of fathering, on the ways fathers can have a positive effect on the lives of their children every day, on the very small interactions that can have a big effect in the lives of children.
Here are some of the ways that fathers can shape their children’s growth into healthy adults (thanks to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for this list).
This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate those fathers who work tirelessly and selflessly for the well-being of their children and their families. Thank you for all you do, every day, in ways large and small. It makes a difference.