Smartypants is the backbone of our family.
He’s the strong one. Steadfast. Unfazed. Calm. Logical.
Annoyingly so, when sometimes I wish I could just drag him down into my irrational and tangled mess of emotions and doubts.
But I need him to be just as he is. We are right together – as husband and wife, as parents, and as friends – not because we agree all the time, but because our differences are so necessary for us to grow together as a family. The kids need him too, because he fills their hearts in ways I can’t.
I’ve always felt that mothers get all the attention in the world of parenthood. From pregnancy on, the father is often treated as a bystander, even when the baby showers have passed and the baby has been born. Assumptions are made about who takes care of baby. Jokes poke fun at clueless fathers. Changing tables don’t exist in many men’s bathrooms.
Without doubt, a mother’s love and care is special and unique. I like to think so.
But so is a father’s love and care. It may look different, but it is just as special, unique, and indispensable.
Perhaps some fathers do act like bystanders or live up to cultural stereotypes. But for the many fathers out there who don’t, it is a shame that fatherhood is not celebrated and praised as much as I think it deserves. Is it that fathers aren’t as involved and intuitive as mothers, or is it that we as a society cultivate this mindset by setting lower expectations of fathers through stereotypes? I suspect the latter plays a much larger role than we may realize.
In watching my husband pour his heart into our kids, I see how much he has grown personally as a result. I also see the look of admiration in our kids’ eyes. They look up to him. There is an awe and a wonder that is different from how they look at me. I may be their comfort, but he is their hero. Not some superhero with extraordinary powers. No spandex tights or cape (thank goodness). He is simply their hero. Period.
He is far from a perfect father. He still has much to learn, as do I.
But I believe in him. I value his role as daddy. I pray for him. I trust his insight and wisdom as my husband and the father of my children. Not because he’s got it all figured out as a father. But simply because we absolutely must love and honor each other in this way if we are to grow in marriage, parenthood, and faith in Christ.
On good days and bad. In sickness and in health. When decisions are unclear. When mistakes are made. When we fall asleep in mid-conversation because we’re so stinkin’ tired.
Fathers need all the encouragement and inspiration they can get…. not to just do better or work harder, but to be reminded that the role of a father truly matters. Boys and girls alike need solid male role models in their lives. Rather than examples of power and physical strength as portrayed and glorified by television and media, they need more examples of what it looks like for a man to work with discipline, live honestly, love humbly, give generously, and be the kind of unsung hero our society needs.
The unsung hero. That is precisely what every father can be to his family, even in the midst of life’s imperfections, struggles, and doubts.
Happy Father’s Day, Smartypants.
You are our hero.