With Father’s Day fast approaching, I got to thinking, am I a good Father? What makes me a good Father? What makes me a good Dad? Then it began to dawn on me. What is the difference between being a good Father as compared to a good Dad?
Father Versus Dad
Although both terms are often considered synonymous, their social connotations have changed over the years. It is obvious that the Father is the male parent of the child; he is the progenitor. As tradition has it, the role of a Father is that of a protector, provider, and leader among other roles to his children. When a Father is active in the life of a child he influences, guides, directs, and shares knowledge and wisdom. The greatest benefit of this is that it grooms a child’s behavior, psychology, and overall well being. It is a truly beautiful experience to be sure.
However it is sad to know that not all Fathers have an active roll the lives of their children or even wish to. Many are satisfied to think that once the child is born that their obligation and duty is not required and therefore abandon the role. This does not alleviate the biological fact that He is the natural Father of that child or children. In this role the Father has rendered himself a donor of DNA and nothing more. In this capacity the Father has little if any positive influence within the life of his children. Truly a tragedy indeed. Though He may be the bread winner or at least a contributing financial partner, paying the bills on time, supplying food and money among other necessities, this is not the definition of a Father. If He does not know his children’s dislikes, their fears, passions, or what’s going with them at school or in personal matters involving peers, He has failed as a Dad. His children will not look up to Him as a Dad and deservingly so.
This is where the difference between Father versus Dad becomes more evident.
Being a Dad is something more personal, more endearing to both Father and child. It connotes leadership, love, and compassion. A Dad is proud and committed regardless the matter He faces regarding His children. He absentmindedly assumes all the responsibilities accompanied by the role, personal, societal, as well as the cultural implications of what a good Dad is expected to be. It seems to just come natural.
Interestingly enough, the role of a Dad is not necessarily by default that of a biological matter as a whole. A Dad is a person that shares a parental type of relationship with the child and is open to other interpretations that define what a Dad is. He can be biological or not; an adoptive Father; a Stepfather, or a nurturing male figure in the life of that child such as a grandfather, uncle, big brothers, etc.
When a Father is acting in capacity of a Dad, the child is likely to benefit further from being more socially stable, academically advanced, and are more likely to have healthy marriages as adults. Having a Dad in a child’s life can likely lead a child to having a broader appreciation for the world around them which could promote better critical thinking skills.
In good times and bad, Dads are there to support their children. Teach them how to ride a bike or how to drive a car. Providing an open ear, guiding heart, and compassion. This comes natural to Parent in the capacity of a Dad.
It seems in my mind at least that the essence of being a Father as compared to a Dad is a biological one; a Father is biological in that if all He does is nothing more than donate his DNA, He is not a Dad. On the other hand, being a Dad is of a nurturing posture. It is certainly all too easy to become a Father and there is plenty of evidence in the world to testify to that. Becoming a Dad is the greatest measure any many could aspire to in His entire life. Thinking about it, neighborhoods, cities, states, nations, and the world are shaped by who, and how we are raised. If there is an absentee Father not acting in the capacity of a Dad, only half the effort is being met in the realm of parenting.
Looking at both sides of the measure I am certain that I more clearly understand and appreciate the mean differences between the two terms. I can honestly assert that with this measure in hand I have been well in both definitions. I have been a Father who assumed my natural role as a Dad and have done so proudly and with respect. I also am fully aware that it is an on going effort so I am yet reserved to commit to a conclusion.
There is a struggle with being a Father versus a Dad that I hadn’t considered in the equation.
Of course it would be self-serving to deny the fact that I have had my short comings as a parent and what is more important in the role of a Father and Dad. In this matter I have learned many things about the nature of being a parent and suffice it to say it is a life time fact. In the case of having a child out of wedlock, I am guilty. There are many things I could say in my defense but it would not matter much if at all. The fact remains that I was not really there for my first born Son and that is shameful. I will never be able to live that down and that is a burden I must suffer for the remainder of my life.
All is not lost though. My Son and I have had an on and off relationship over as many years and I am grateful for that. I cannot suggest to know what it is the nature of His mind where I am concerned but He treats me with civility. I suspect that time will heal all things as it often does in my experience.
To answering my question. What makes me a good Dad versus a good Father? I have been and remain resolved at being both. Though I hold out the jury on the matter as a whole.
It will only be self evident as to a man’s qualifications, and success as a Father and Dad only after His death. It seems only fair at that point as one can now reflect back on the life of that person in the capacity of a Father and Dad and properly measure Him.
The matter of Father versus Dad is often a subjective term for many of us. It is often a matter open to interpretation because too often personalities can play a major part in its perception. Either way, it seems to me that a good man is one that concerned with being more than just a Father but rather a good Dad
So I remain a Father that is in the life long pursuit of achieving the most honorable title of a good Dad.