I know this essay is late, but I could not think of a subject until it was late. I don’t have much on the subject (or at least I thought I didn’t until I started writing), but maybe I should stop being so strict on myself for these little posts.
What makes a good father? How does one be a good father? How do we judge if one is a good father? What are the unnecessary things we attach to fatherhood? These are all valid questions. Could I address them all in full? Probably not since I’m certainly not a good father (you need to be a male first, then a father before you can be a good one). I can only philosophize here on what some traits are.
One thing we associate with fathers is strictness, especially when it comes to their daughters dating lives and sometimes beyond that. How strict is good, I don’t know. What I do know is that the source of strictness needs to be love. Love that cares and worries for his children and does what he can to keep them reasonably safe. An ideal father is not selfish, but instead works to build his children into fine men and women. He acts, at his own expense, for the good of his family.
Something that relates to strictness, though is not the same thing, is discipline. That might be a hot topic. There are certainly some fathers who do not know how to deal discipline properly and take it to a harsh extreme. Sometimes, however, what we view as harsh is actually not so. At first, any punishment that we see as “only restricting” would be seen as cruel and inhumane, but that’s a problem with how we see the situation. There are times when we need to suck up our pride and understand that we did not fully comprehend the situation, unfortunately that is most of our childhood.
There is a time when the best discipline is not issued by the belt, but instead by the face. When we are young and rebellious, we tend not to give thought to how our actions might hurt others, so we’re made to first fear the pain. Once we have grown up (though sometimes people lose this when they grow up) is what is referred to in old times as filial fear. This fear is the kind where the child fears hurting the father’s feelings. The fathers who can instill this and not need the belt, have one of the traits of a good father. When I think of my grandfather, I can only think of how I wanted to be happy with him and not offend him because he was probably the greatest person I knew.
I think something that can constitute “greatness” would be inspiration. It’s something a lot of us, who did have good or at least decent fathers, felt while we were kids. Boys would say, “I wanna be like my dad” and that is perhaps the highest praise one could give. Girls would say, “I want to marry someone like daddy,” also perhaps the highest praise. These fathers are role models, and the positive role models are the best.
Another method of inspiration is the praise a good father gives. Whenever a normal child did something, he would be ecstatic to show it to his parents, especially the father when he came home from work at night. I could remember that having your father say, “I’m proud of you” was fantastic (and it still is). I don’t know how often this happens today, since fathers have been more known to be irresponsible idiots who ditch the mothers (though it is true on the reverse too) and that is sad. I have my ideas on why it might be the case, but that’s for another time. What I can say is that the world needs good fathers. Fathers that love and care for their children and to be around to be a good father.