This past Sunday, I’m sure I was one of millions who joined in on social sites, wishing fathers – near and far – a happy day filled with love and great memories. In the midst of this personal celebration, I noticed posts from people reminding us that Father’s Day was for dads and contrary to popular opinions, not a time for single mothers to take credit. I also read a post that reminded me that I couldn’t raise a boy to be a man, only a man could do that.” Humph. Deep sigh.
I am a single parent of three. I have horror stories and happy endings alike. I made tons of parental mistakes and learned the idea of something is never the same as the reality.
And while I may not be genetically qualified to raise a man, gender was never a criteria for rearing my children. I was aiming for great human beings.
I taught my son and two daughters how to be responsible people; how to exercise good judgment and what it meant to be trustworthy and of good character. I taught them about history and politics, and spent hours debating over current events. They learned why it was important to respect their elders and why it was equally vital to stand up for what they believed. I attempted to show them the little I knew about finances, using the fireplace and taking care of the car. They learned how to take notes in class, study for tests, write a resume, and how to make a good first impression. We visited local museums, art galleries, and dabbled in learning foreign languages. We failed miserably at some of our attempts and have the sense of humor to prove it. What I didn’t know, I found others who did or I encouraged them to do research.
My children took their father out to brunch for Father’s Day. Despite our differences, I have always encouraged their relationship with their dad, and I have never sought to take his place.
So while I would agree that Father’s Day is about the fathers, at the end of the day, there is no competition, no scorecard, no extra credit, just good old fashioned lessons, and the persistent truth that God’s love is never ending.