6.18.2006

Happy Father's Day!

Disclaimer: I don't know if my friend Theric coined the term svithe himself (he probably did, he's a smartie like that) or if what I'm about to write qualifies as one. But I've been doing some thinking today, and it's more along meditative church-type lines than snarky ones. Just so you know.

In church today the kids got up and sang a song about their dads and how they want to be like them when they grow up. At least two of these kids are now being raised by their single mom after their dad left them for someone else. They're up there singing the song, though, because what else are they going to do? The Primary Children's Songbook doesn't have a song entitled "I Hope Jesus Sends Me a Decent Male Role Model Before My Formative Years Are Over Because my Own Dad is Crap." The guy who gave a talk briefly mentioned that he grew up in a single-parent home, and that the few things he did learn from his dad shouldn't really be shared in church.

The guy's talk was about fatherhood, though, and it was really, really good. He's a young dad and an American and I like him. He talked about how out of all the responsibilities he has (job, church, spouse, children, extra-curricular things, etc.), the only two things that can't be delegated are his responsibilities to his wife and his children. Someone else could do his job just fine, and other people could take over his church callings, and he can always give up extra-curricular activities, but nobody else can be his wife's husband or his daughters' dad. And he should never fool himself into thinking that church programs, or school, or friends can take his place and meet the needs of his wife & children and teach his kids what he should be teaching them. He also talked about how great it is to be a dad. His girls have this favorite bedtime story and they know all the words by heart, and reading it to them is one of the highlights of his day.

There's a young couple in my ward who were married for 8 years before they were able to have a baby. When their little girl was born this year, my friend told me that having a baby brought out a sappy side to her husband that she hadn't seen before (in 8 years of marriage, mind you) and would never have predicted. He's gone completely soft, not just on his baby but on pretty much all babies, and it's one of the sweeter things you'll ever see. It's an intriguing idea that there could be facets of your character that are just lying dormant, waiting for parenthood to bring them out. Maybe that's one more reason why we're meant to have families.

Women at church openly discuss the fact that even though we may not have children of our own, we can still put our "mothering" instincts to good use. Hello, just look at how many single gals are elementary-school teachers. In my case, I got to be Savvy's second mom-figure. And I can tell you, it does bring out new things. If you'd told me before she was born the ridiculous and unattractive lengths I would go to make her laugh I would have said you were crazy.

The thing is, I don't really hear people at church talking about fatherhood in the same way that they discuss motherhood. I've never heard anyone mention "paternal instincts," even though men do have them. Why is that?

Do the men just not talk about it?
Do they not think about it?

Church leaders keep urging the 20-something single men to get married and start a family, but it seems like it's couched in terms of This is Your Priesthood Responsibility and This is What You Should Be Doing. Yeah, can't see why they're not lining up for that. Does anyone talk about fatherhood and how great being a dad can be, and how much better it is than being alone or living with flatmates? So many single guys I know seem to see marriage and kids as this huge responsibility and The End of Fun. Is anyone (aside from my American friend with his talk today) telling them otherwise?

Those are just some thoughts swirling around up here.

I would like to wish a Happy Father's Day to my own sweet dad, who also turns to mush when babies are involved (especially when it's these ones). I'm so glad we have a good relationship. He laughs at my stories and gives me good advice and encourages me to do my best. And I'm sorry that I called him up to vent about an insignificant frustration the other day and sort of used the words of "ratbag assface." The things England will do to a lady's vocabulary, I tell you . . .

Anyway, I love you, Dad!!!

15 comments:

The McCulloch Family said... [reply]

Freaking stealing my thunder. Share the love, will you?

Cicada said... [reply]

Bwahahaha! Ratbag assface! Ah geez. It gets me going every time.

Anyway, I love what you've written here, Nem. Wise words, wise words.

TannerJ5 said... [reply]

that would be a very interesting primary song.You should try to sing it. I'll think of another list of wacky ones and post it later.

noelle feather said... [reply]

You are so very blessed to have your dad. Treasure every single moment. :)

Today, I get to remember what I great dad I have, too, although he's just doing some other things now...with HIS dad. And, that gives me a lot of peace.

Saxon said... [reply]

Maybe they'll have that song in the next edition of the primary songbook *Grins*

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

This is a truly nice gesture. All my dad got was a pair of overalls--no card, no phone call, no cash. Someone really should have done something about that.

Lady Steed said... [reply]

Excellent thoughts Nem. Your Dad must be very proud to have such a brilliant daughter.

PS love the picture.

Fraggle said... [reply]

That young couple in the ward wouldn't happne to be Mexican would they?...

Th. said... [reply]

.

Oh great. Now it's my turn to flatter you.

But anyway, I like being a dad. I was, as I'm sure you recall, a little off when I was single.

Now I'm a little off and a dad! You can't beat that.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Jen, you're on crack. This is after you IMed for the express purpose off telling me that you're now the favorite because of your photogenic children.

Cici, I only hope that all of my infrequent lapses into semi-obscenities will bring you such joy.

Tannerj5, I look forward to hearing your Primary song recommendations!

Noelle, thanks so much for what you said and for your positive outlook. I hope Father's Day was a good one for you.

We can only hope, Saxon. We can only hope.

Gosh, Stupid. Too bad nobody did anything more for your dad. Mine asked for a boat and so I got him a card with a boat on the front. That's why I'm the favorite.

Thanks, Lady Steed! My mother and I noticed for the first time that my right arm looks all shrivelled and ET-like in the picture. We had a good laugh over it. Not that disabilites are funny. Ever.

Sorry fraggle, good guess though! Their last name begins with K and rhymes with "fear." Does that help?

Thanks, th. for anouncing that you like being a dad. I await the flattering with much anticipation. Although, really, I'm probably just barely starting to catch up in that department, as you have already said plenty of nice things about me.

Saxon said... [reply]

would fraggle happen to be a former member of the ward by any chance nemesis? btw please feel free to tell others about my blog as I bit the bullet and starting telling people

Fraggle said... [reply]

Fraggle would indeed be a former member of the ward (I was a student there once - and to think it's only a year since I left). Nem, your clue was, how shall I say, overblatant! :) That's cool news. Give them congrats for me, eh?

kristen said... [reply]

Dad's are great, aren't they? I'm sure your dad is very proud of you!

Saxon said... [reply]

overblantent clue for a overblatent person perhaps fraggle? :-)he, he, he, he, he, he, he,

My Dad's great too, execept when it comes to ironing!

Fraggle said... [reply]

Sax, them's fighting words... I propose a duel at the next Brum dance!

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