The greatest joys of fatherhood (Part 1)

June 7, 2015

What is the meaning of fatherhood? At a workshop “Improving Data on Male Fertility and Family Formation” at the Urban Institute, Washington D.C. (1997), this definition of fatherhood was given: A man becomes a father when he has his first child; this status is fixed, such that, once a man becomes a father he is always a father. He may subsequently have more children or his responsibilities and activities may change due to divorce, or children leaving home, or for other reasons, but he is always a father. Fatherhood, then, is a status attained by having a child and is irrevocable. In the contemporary research literature, the term fatherhood is used interchangeably with the term fathering which includes, beyond the procreative act itself, all the childrearing roles, activities, duties, and responsibilities that fathers are expected to perform and fulfill. Furthermore, while these definitions once implied biological fathers only, with the rapid changes in the family structure they came to include non-biological fathers as well. We follow the common practice in the research literature and use “fatherhood” to include childrearing responsibilities and fathering activities as well, regardless of whether they are carried out by biological or non-biological fathers. This month in celebration of fatherhood, this writer asked several fathers to answer the question: “What have been the greatest joys of fatherhood?” This writer was awed by the responses from each father and I am delighted to share them with you. Reflections on Fatherhood By: Mr. Charles Johnson My greatest joy of fatherhood has been watching my children live, grow and learn responsibility. I love my children who are now 40 and 50 years of age. I have learned regardless of how old my children get, I am always their “Dad” and therefore, I will always be there for them. My Children, The Love Of My Life! By: Min. Marc Miller When I think about my greatest joys of fatherhood, I must first thank God for blessing me with a son and daughter. I thank God for God’s grace and mercy, the gift of forgiveness and restoration. I could/should have lost my life to the streets but God had other plans for me. When I think about those times when I taught my children to ride a bike; driving or walking them to school; and God’s blessings for being able to provide for them, all bring me tremendous joy. Now that my son is a young man (Imani, 19), I enjoy having those oneon-one conversations with him about life. My daughter (Faith, 11) has her questions too and I am happy to give her my listening ear and give her fatherly and godly advice. If I had to state my ultimate joy of being a father….it has been sharing the love of Jesus with my children. In turn, my children bring me joy when they tell me: “I love you daddy” and when they say those simple, but extremely meaningful words: “thank you.” I cannot describe how grateful I am to God for blessing me and guiding me to be a Godfearing father and for blessing me with my two beautiful children. “When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry” – William Shakespeare Next Week: More Expressions from Fathers The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.