A World Without Daddy Issues
Can you imagine a world without daddy issues? No dictators. No orange trash presidents. No family separations as terrorism against asylum seekers. No police brutality. No intimate partner violence. No child abuse.
Can you imagine a world full of excellent father figures who care nothing for gender conformity or forced obedience? Who love their children and actually show it? Who protect their children from the same kinds of traumas they have experienced, rather than replicating those traumas?
Can you imagine a world in which all fatherless children are surrounded by healthy male role models and mentors in their lives? A world in which men hold each other accountable and women love themselves?
I can, because I live in that world. Not on TV. Not in the news. Not when I travel. Not when I visit the church I grew up in or the schools I went to. I mean in the everyday life I inhabit now, as an adult with the freedom to choose what to pass on to the next generation. My husband is a suburban lumberjack in a Tyler Durden bathrobe. He's a Siberian woodbilly with glitter nail polish. He's a fun playmate, a great cook, a muscle bear, a loudmouth, and a cuddler.
My own father is a hero for coming from a family entrenched in devastating mental illness, climbing out of poverty, and creating a healthy family of his own. My dad bought me an electric car and one for himself to match. He takes care of my daughter all day at least once a week and makes her laugh more than anyone else can. He raised my brother, who is now a beloved uncle and one of my daughter's favorite people in the world.
You know who else is proud of being a great father figure?
Every single male friend of mine who has children or child relatives.
This is not a coincidence. Awesomeness and positivity are just as contagious as trauma and negativity. When we become aware of where we came from and who we are as a result, we can take control of choosing who to emulate and what to replicate.
For instance, the genes of the hottie with the upcycled greenhouse wheelbarrow at the top of this post.
I have endless gratitude for all the men in my life who have been willing and able to "dad up" and be the father that every kid deserves, no matter how or to whom they were born. It doesn't take superpowers or even particularly special skills. It doesn't take hyper-masculinity or good looks or a fat wallet or authori-teh. All it takes is the ability to accept and reflect a child's love, because that is the magic that turns any old bro into a legend. As Australian poet Pam Brown famously wrote,
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, singers of songs.
Happy Father's Day!