Are Father’s Important? Seems Obvious

Are Fathers important, of course, but not everyone realizes it

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Are father’s important?

Are father’s important? It was once said to me “If you don’t want to be with me then I am going to make sure you never see your daughter again, she only needs me,  she won’t die without a father”

The above statement is wrong on so many levels it is almost impossible to fathom that the words could come out of any parents mouth. Common sense and morality tell all decent people that no matter how you feel about your ex, children should never be thrust into the middle of it. Obviously, this is a practice that is often ignored with very damaging results to children.

Do you really have to ask?

The obvious answer to the question, are fathers important, is a very simple yes. In an ideal world every child would have two loving parents whether they are together or separated, unfortunately, the world is not ideal and utopia doesn’t always exist.  It might be factual that a child will not die without their father, however, the intent of that quote is one of the most ignorant comments and or beliefs I have ever heard.  There really is no need to go into the statistics of divorce or the effects it has on children because first I don’t buy into the notion of single parent homes leading to a troubled youth and second this article is about my personal experience being a father and growing up without one, not an educational piece.

What if the parent really is bad?

As I have mentioned in previous posts I was raised by an amazing single mother who did everything to provide for us and raise us to be good moral adults.  My father was not in the picture for what amounts to the great majority of my life.  Without getting into details he was a very bad man, a fact that was never told to me by my mother, as should be the case I was allowed to come to this conclusion on my own. It did not take me long to determine this, kids are much more perceptive than adults like to give them credit for.  My mother did not talk bad about him to me, keep him from me or use me a weapon against him.

Should I be grateful?

I do not harbor any anger towards my birth father, in fact, I almost feel the need to thank him for staying out of my life. I truly believe I am a better person and father because I was raised by a single mother but this does not mean I think its ideal for all children. In my situation, my father was abusive both physically and verbally to my mother and that can be much more damaging for a child to grow up witnessing then can be caused by not having a father.

I was fortunate to grow up around other “father figures”, it takes a village and I was lucky to be a part of an amazing village that forever changed my life and helped turn be the great father I am today. I learned three very important traits needed to be a good father:

SACRIFICE:

John Coyte. Everyone who knows me is aware of the profound effect the life of this man had on me. (R.I.P.) Now that I am older I realize he was only a child himself. He literally sacrificed so much to help my mother and give me a positive role model. He sacrificed college, time and in my opinion ultimately his life. All to show me what a man should be. A future article will be created with the complete story of John. It will include movement in his honor  but for now, we focus on what I learned about parenting from him.

What is sacrafice?

I learned that if you are a good person being a “father figure”  will come naturally. No one is perfect but you don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent. You just have to be filled with love.  Sacrifice is huge as a parent,  especially a single one. You most likely have to give up a lot of your free time, social time, hobbies and you pretty much never get to be a priority again. To any good parent this is not seen as a sacrifice but as an honor. However, to choose to do all this for a child that is not yours through blood or marriage takes an absolutely amazing human being. Especially when you are still so young yourself.

Discipline/Structure:

Roger Thomas – oh Roger the jokes we use to make about you and your rules. I still can’t cut across a person’s lawn without being in fear ..LOL.

Roger had a rule for everything and there was no breaking them! My mother was definitely was no slouch in this department. As previously stated she did work two jobs and couldn’t always be there so Roger stepped in to help. When I did something wrong he treated me no different than his sons expressing his anger and disappointment in me. Roger was a typical man’s man as they say. A mechanic, provider, disciplinarian he loved his action movies and wrestling not exactly one to share his feelings if you understand what I mean.

Structure is love

I realized as I grew older that he took great pride in being a father and filling his role. I realized that providing structure and discipline was his way of showing his love for me.  Structure is the most important gift you can give a child. It something that stays with you for your entire life and into fatherhood. All kids are made to feel safe because of structure we just don’t acknowledge it until we are older.

There was always rewards for the good behavior. Ranging from movies to vacations or just simple fun things kids love to do. I never got the chance to express to Roger how much he meant to me. To tell him the profound effect he had on me as a child and as an adult. It will always hurt me a little to know he didn’t get to meet my daughter. He didn’t get to see the great father I have become. My daughter will grow up knowing about him through my many stories and lessons. I pass on to her the bits of wisdom I learned.  R.I.P. Roger and thank you for everything.

COMPASSION:

Jim Snyder – Words can not describe the enormous effect  had on an entire community literally generation after generation. His name is synonymous with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in the capitol district of New York. He was an amazing dad, role model, and community leader.  It would take all day to list every person whose life is better because they met Jim. He is a father and friend to everyone who has ever crossed his path. He literally shaped generations of men and women who went on to in turn effect communities all around the country. Whether it be as parents, athletes, political figures, teachers, medical workers the list goes on and on.

Without a doubt I never met a man whith more compassion and understanding for life than Jim Snyder. Intelligent, funny, understanding, and genuine are exact traits I take pride in as a father. A lot of that  is a direct result of Jim’s influence.

So grateful

I was always treated as family and included in all family activities when it came to the Snyder family. That will always mean so much to me and although I think I was taken in a little more then most because of my friendship with his son, there are thousands of people out there who will attest to everything I am saying.  My daughter got to meet Jim a couple of years ago when I was visiting NY. However brief it was I was very proud of that moment. I was proud Jim got to see that his words were not lost on me and that I took in everything he said and am now passing it on to my daughter.

Happy Kiara got to meet him

Kiara was too young to understand the effect the man she met that day had on not only me but her life a well but one day when she is older it will become evident and the cycle of influence Jim has had on the world will continue with her.  Because of Jim, I am a better person because of Jim the world is a better place. Thank you, Jim from the bottom of my heart.  R.I.P.