Is the concept of fatherhood important, and do fathers have a natural "feel" for fathering, similar to the instinctual qualities of mothers? And, are fathers still needed to help in the making of a successful adult?
As animals, human beings have a built-in protective mechanism for defending their offspring, i.e. making sure that their progeny survive to carry on a particular set of genes. And fathers, certainly have a built-in biological instinct to nurture and care for their offspring to ensure survival to adulthood, mainly to pass on his genes to future generations. But, does this survival instinct extend beyond basic survival, and are fathers needed to provide beyond basic survival?
Happy, Well Adjusted Children
From my own experience, after the job of making sure my children had the basics in life (food, shelter, etc.), I wanted for my children far beyond the basic necessities in life. Not necessarily meaning physical "stuff", but more along the lines of giving to my offspring the means to make a good life for themselves as adults. To me, this meant several things:
- Giving them a basis for making good choices (careers, friends, etc.)
- Letting them build good self-esteem by actually trying new things, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes
- Letting failures happen. As part of learning, failure is very important. The child then learns how to turn failure into success
- Rewarding success, whether it be in school, sports or anywhere in between
- Providing a foundation for moral decision-making
Children will "do as you do" rather than "do as you say." They will follow your example. If you, as a father, are lazy, insincere and disrespectful, chances are your children will follow suit and learn from you. With this in mind, it's important for fathers to live life as they preach, because your children are watching closely, and will mimic your behavior until it's part of their character.
As a condition of fatherhood, it's the father's duty to make sure his children know the basics:
- Wrong from right
- Good work ethic
- Respect for others
- A logical approach for good decision making
A mother's role in raising children tends towards the nurturing side of the equation. Without a father's input and guidance (and even with exceptional mothering, no disrespect intended), a child may reach adulthood lacking some very basic life skills - skills that may take years of trial and error to develop into adulthood.
My conclusion? Mothers and fathers both play great roles in raising happy, healthy and well-adjusted children - especially in today's relatively harsh and raw society. Mothers seem to garner the majority of respect because they actually bear the child, and are responsible for the child's early survival and development. But, as the child ages and enters the complexities of modern life, fatherhood is critical to the formation of a whole being - a man or a woman rather than a grown child.
That's why fathers are more needed today than any time in the past.
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