by Kellee Williams
When I was five years old my parents divorced. By the time I was eight, my mom had remarried and I had gained a bonus-dad. I was one of the fortunate girls who had both her biological dad and one that loved her like a bio-kid in their lives.
I talked on the phone to my father every single day growing up. And today, if my father and I don't talk, we text. My stepfather and I speak often as well and have an amazing relationship. Both of my fathers were such a huge part in my life, that when I got married, I didn't have anyone walk me down the aisle because I loved and cared for them both so deeply that I didn't want to offend either one of them.
My fatherhood experiences are not those of other people. And, if you ask about fatherhood, you'll get many different descriptions. Some had fathers in the home that were an active part of their lives, then some had fathers living with them in the home and had no real interactions with them.
Some had fathers who they have never met or did not have active relationships with but were fortunate enough to have had a man (uncle, grandfather, friend, coach, etc...) who served as a major and impactful factor in their lives. They had the support of someone who saw their tears and wiped them, who saw their dreams and helped them reach them, saw their challenges, and taught them lessons of wisdom. Unfortunately though, some have not had any male figures in their lives at all. I'm sure there are many more descriptions of fathers.
Despite the kind of father that was in your life I am a firm believer that we cannot change our past. But thankfully, we can use the experiences in our past (fatherhood relationships) to propel us to better futures.
When I think of things that I have experienced and things people in my circle have experienced, some things appear to be consistent.
Dad or (insert father figure's name here):
1. You’re important to the family unit
You may not know this, but your very presence and mere existence help us to make meaning of our identity to an extent. It could be a bloodline connection or not, but there is something about fathers that helps us to bond as a family.
2. You’re a role model
Some fathers are excellent examples while others not so much. Either way, you and your role in our lives help shape us to be who it is we eventually become.
3. You’re a gift-giver
Biological or not, you have given us the gift of experience. Something about you has placed us in such a position where we have experienced something because of you.
4. You help shape our view of love
No matter how you frame it, a father helps his child understand and create a belief around love. Some views are beautiful depictions and others may be less than desirable. Until we grow in wisdom enough to get solid on our view of love, we rely on you.
Fathers and father figures play an important part in the lives of children... even into their adulthood. If your father was an active and positive part of your life, great! I hope that you are able to use that relationship for a foundation of success in your life. If your father was less than stellar, I have the same hope for you.
This June, find a way to celebrate the fathers and those who stood and stand in the place of fathers.