Posted: 07/14/2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I spent the last year and then some leading a high school devotional group. These kids were awesome, as most kids are, and truly, I was the one getting the most out of our interactions. For that couple of hours each week, someone lent me their kids and trusted me with the responsibility of being their surrogate parent. That’s totally ok. We all do that to some degree – we use babysitters, youth leaders, camps, etc – to parent our children for a short time.

But a lot of you out there have abdicated parenting altogether.

What makes a real man? Sadly, it’s not just bacon consumption, knowledge of box scores or the ability to bench press a Volkswagen. It’s using your strength without using your strength. Think I’m pulling some Zen mindfreak on you? Nope, just noting that being a man is as much about responsibility as it is grunting and repairing cars.

I know this amazing woman. We’ll call her Guinevere, because, hey, I’m nothing if not literary. Anyway, Guinevere met her King Arthur and had two beautiful daughters. Then, for reasons completely between her and Arthur (I don’t think there was a Lancelot in the mix, but it would work really well with my analogy), they divided up Camelot. She got the castle and he went off to find his Grail. Now, the King gets to see his princesses on weekends. It’s not the greatest arrangement, sure, but its an arrangement. Problem is, the King is busy looking for the next Guinevere. Or Lancelot. Or whatever, but he rarely spends the whole weekend with his girls.

And we wonder why the women we date have “Daddy” issues.

Now, this is not to say that Guinevere is not the greatest mom ever, because I think she’s doing a damn fine job. Also, the fact that she’s wonderful, gorgeous, and …why the hell doesn’t she have a boyfriend? Because most of you are too blind to see the incredible woman since you are staring at the kids in the picture. Which is sort of ok, I guess, because if you aren’t ready to be the main man in those girls’ lives, don’t entertain the job and waste everyone’s time.

But back to Arthur – he’s an idiot. Now, I am sure that Guin would tell me he’s great and fine and all, but I just don’t care. I’ve already pre-judged him because he’s not really tuning in to his daughters’ lives. And that’s going to suck for them now and him in the future when his failure to parent rises up in the relationships they attempt to have.

Women. Need. Fathers. Just like sons need us to help them develop their perspective on masculinity, little women learn from their fathers how big women should be treated. When that is absent, it’s likely going to be a point of contention when they become big women themselves.

What does it take to be a father? BALLS. The size of sea turtles.

I have another friend (Yay, friends!) who is in the process of a messy divorce that involves the wife leaving, drugs, guns, weasels and all sorts of stuff. We’ll call him Dweezil. Dweez has a daughter from this marriage and has spent the last several months trying to insure that she was taken care of throughout the divorce. She spent time with mom until it was discovered that the daughter was living in scary conditions in a scary residence. The little girl had been staying with her grandparents during the day while Dweezil worked.

Since the separation, Dweezil has been doing what he has been doing since his daughter was born – spending time with her. He works three jobs, seven days a week so that they can survive and possibly have a future. When he’s at work, the grandparents have the girl. When he comes home, he showers and spends time watching TV and drinking beer. No, just kidding – he spends as much time with his daughter as he can before she hits the sack. He’s the one that sees to her bath each night. He’s the one putting her to bed, reading her stories and telling her that he loves her. To her, there is no greater person in the world.

That’s what it means to be a man. That’s the definition of strength – that after hours at work, you come home and still can put on a smile and genuinely interact with daughter. Or son. My father was amazing. He spent a lot of time with me. He never called it “spending time with me.” He just did it. He loved me. And he was critical in shaping me as a man.

I’m not minimizing the role of the mother here, just emphasizing the role of the man.

While we temporarily give up custody of our children in the situations mentioned at the beginning of this rant, we don’t give up being a parent. And it’s not my responsibility to raise your child or deal with the issues that arise when you don’t take parenting seriously. I’m not speaking to all parents. Women, you have to get your crap together on your own. For you gents out there, wake the hell up. You can’t just walk away from your daughter when she’s five and crying in the kitchen and seriously think that the world is just going to pick up the slack. You created that kid and you should thank your lucky stars that God deemed you worthy of being a parent. I’m not saying you have to become a soccer mom, but I am saying that you have to invest time. You have to BE there. Because if you aren’t, that child will find another father. A father who might manifest as drugs, careless sex, destructive behavior or simply someone with different values than you.

I’m calling you out. Because if you are Arthur, you’re a big honkin’ moron and deserve to be driven from the kingdom while hungry ferrets gnaw on your dangly bits. That’s why my manhood, and the manhood of all men like me, will always be bigger than yours.


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