Reflections: FATHER’S DAY 2020
Father’s Day always leaves me with mixed feelings. I loved my own father dearly and owe much of what I am today as a man to him. One of the most important things that he taught me was that there is NOTHING more important than family. And, he demonstrated his love for me and my siblings and a daily basis. I never questioned it and I honor him today (and, everyday) by remembering that unfailing love for all of us.
But, my father is gone over 30 years now. So, although I still feel his love (it is within me forever), I also experience the emptiness of his loss. It’s an angst that doesn’t fade with time. In fact, in some ways, it only gets worse.
And, by some strange quirk of fate, I never sired any children. Perhaps, it was more than merely fate. We all make choices in life and, apparently, mine was to live a more solitary life. And, I make no excuses. I don’t live with regret. However, with complete openness and honesty, I miss not having the joy that I saw in my father’s eyes and see in those of my friends who are also fathers at the mere presence of their children. There is a bond that is both palpable and powerful. After all, they created another human being! How awesome is that?
Now, I am proud to say that I have had the opportunity to be a surrogate father to many. I have 3 stepsons that I did my best to help raise for nearly 15 years, my adopted son in Africa, and hundreds of students that I have taught and mentored during my time at Fordham University in NY. They have helped me realize that being a father is more than a matter of just biology. It is a commitment as a man to be a leader, a mentor, a friend, a confidant, and a tireless defender to those under your care. If you can fulfill that commitment, then you have earned the right to be called father.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who define the word. . .