May 25, 2010 by David Gillaspie
Being a Dad is a limited experience, unlike being a father. A Dad has fewer children to focus on. A man can ‘father’ fifteen kids and not know their names. Dads don’t work that way.
A recent arrest put a man in jail in Portland, Oregon. The news story said he’d fathered twenty-four kids. He went to jail on cocaine and crack charges. Those aren’t the usual Dad activities.
In The Church, there’s reference to Father, as in ‘forgive me Father for I have sinned.’ It’s not ‘forgive me Dad for I have sinned.’ With the first you ask for divine forgiveness; the other gets you a timeout.
What is the point of bringing up NBA numbers for fathering kids, or B. B. King numbers? Why mention The Church? Here’s why: Every Dad worth his salt knows the most important part of being a Dad, an effective Dad, is being a good husband.
If a good husband fathered a baseball team of kids with a basketball team of women, he’d have to turn in his Good Husband card. A good husband is a good Dad because he limits his reproductive efforts to one woman. That way the kids know who is who.
The idea of keeping it simple comes up sooner than later. For instance, say you have a turn of heart after fathering a bus load of kids, and you want to make amends by trying to be a Dad. This means registering kids for school and activities. Which is more likely, remembering your kids’ names, or their mothers’ names.
Memory is a big part of being a Dad, which locks in with keeping the number of children to a manageable size. Being a good husband means remembering your wife’s birthday along with her parents’ birthdays and her siblings’ birthday. Try that with the ten women you’ve had fifteen kids with.
Some guys get overwhelmed with the Dad business. They feel that it identifies them as only a Dad instead of all their other sterling qualities. It is shocking to read about grown men going astray, but more so when it’s a Dad.
What did the former New Jersey governor’s kids think when their dad announced to the world that he is a ‘Gay American?’ How did it go for the former New York governor’s daughters when he announced that he was wild about Girls Gone Wild? Which kids had the better deal here?
The qualifications for being a Dad are a mystery. Much like the building of Stonehenge, it is shrouded in shadows. You might know where the materials come from, but how did they get to the building site? You might figure out what the final shape of things mean, but how did they get built?
If you have the correct plumbing you can be a father; if you have the right attitude you can be a Dad. Don’t think you have to win every contest with a kid, but don’t roll over either. Don’t think you need the last word in every conversation, and don’t suck the air out of the room so the kid can’t have it either.
Explain to a kid the reasoning behind a door. Tell them you may insist on the table manners of high tea with the Queen of England, but not to be disappointed if no one else does. Explain how you think a sport like wrestling prepares them to deal with difficulties because nothing will be more difficult than facing a hyped up nut-job in a full face mask on the mat.
Behind the door of a house or apartment a kid learns the ways of the world. He learns from Dad and Mom. So regardless of your parent’s divorce, or favoritism, or ignorance, be a better Dad. And remember Rule #1:
Find the best woman you know to have kids with. That is the key to being the best Dad you can be.
To the women who read this and agree: Your welcome.