It has been difficult traversing the terrain of fatherhood without an appropriate example. Fatherhood, for me, has been one big learning experience. Basically, I began my philosophy of fatherhood with a decision. I decided that everything I saw in my family growing up, I would do the exact opposite.
So far, it has worked.
Father's Day has always been tough for me. I guess it might be a similar feeling to that of a barren woman gets on Mother's Day...there is just something missing from your life. It gets tougher when other men extole the influence and love of their fathers, and I am left wishing for that hole to be filled.
That "hole" is something common among men reared without fathers. A few months ago, I was teaching a few workshops in Montreal. My translator, a man about my age, began talking about growing up with no father. When I told him that I too had grown up without a father, he got this look on his face. The look was that of a man who had finally found someone who shared his pain. "Do you have the hole?" he said. "Yes," I said, "I have the hole. I don't think it ever goes away."
Father's Day got easier to handle when I had a daughter of my own; though it is still difficult. I often just find a way to not think about it. To be honest, I don't want to think about what is missing. I recognize that some of the quirks in my personality and some of my insecurities are a direct result of not having a father, but I worked hard to become who I am and to NOT be like most of the men paraded in front of me during childhood.
Having a child gives me the opportunity to stop the cycle. I also, in some unexplainable way, get to right a wrong. I can't explain why it feels that way, but it does. I get to make sure that another child does not have to grow up without a father.
There is also a need to be a father-figure to those without fathers. there are many who don't have fathers, and, while a man cannot replace the absentee father, they can fill a need. They can be godly representation of manhood.
Whatever your childhood situation was...Happy Father's Day.