Friday, February 7, 2020

A Good Father

Years ago, fathers did not spend so much time with their children. They were not bad fathers; they were considered to be good fathers. They loved their wives and provided for their families. They went to work each day and came home for dinner. They would occasionally spend time with their children, usually teaching them some sort of practical life skill. My grandfather instructed his three oldest boys on how to build a house from the ground up. This was a practical skill at the time. My grandfather also helped his children with difficult school subjects. He invested money in educational programs and would sometimes spend the evening working with the struggling child. He also taught all of his children proper table manners during dinner time, which was then rewarded with a night out at a fancy restaurant once a year. In the 1950's and 1960's, going out for a nice meal was a big deal! My father speaks very fondly of these memories.

Father's of the older generations did not come home from a long day at work only to be handed over the responsibility of the children because his wife was done. It did not require hours a week spent with each child as "quality time". I'm not saying that father's who want to spend the evening reading to their children or playing a board game are in any way out of line. I think this is great, as having a father in the life of a child is a crucial part of their development, but busy father's who work can still provide this.

My own children watch their father go to work each morning, knowing that he is making money to provide for their needs: food, a comfortable home, clothing. They're excited to see him when he comes home and surely they miss him throughout the day. They know that he is fulfilling his role as a provider for our family. He will occasionally make time for them individually, but it's more of a rare treat than an expectation. He is often home for dinner when it's not a busy season for him, and he's almost always home for evening family prayers.

As wives and mothers, we need to stop making our husbands feel guilty for the lack of time they spend with their children. Instead, we need to teach our children that they are loved by both parents and that each parent is fulfilling their responsibilities to the family.

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