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“Watching Men Become Dads” — Father’s Day Week, part 3

June 18, 2019

Amy Lynn Miller is a friend, a counselor, a consultant, a singer, and was an active youth member of a church it was my joy to serve. She has graciously given me permission to share this with you here, as together we continue to celebrate Father’s Day — 

I love watching men become dads.

If they allow it, having children softens them in a profound way. It makes them sweet and gentle and tender and vulnerable, if only – often, only- in the small, private moments with their children.

A new dad is terrified, anxious, and in love. A seasoned dad is relaxed, confident, and in love. It’s an amazing thing. Dads are an invaluable resource, and for those of us lucky to have or know them, we are blessed beyond measure. Zoe is blessed beyond measure. I have been blessed beyond measure.

But. From working with many couples in distress, I know that many men aren’t always able or willing to extend that vulnerability and softness to their partners. This can be very upsetting to their partners; to be so close to such sweetness and not be able to access it is painful.

But I understand: adult partners can hurt a man. Adult partners can say “your love is not good enough”.

Children are all love and acceptance. Children have no expectations of a man’s ability to produce or make money or express his emotions with any degree of articulateness. Children are a safe place to invest all the emotional energy a man has stored up from lifetime of suppression.

To all the fathers out there, please know that the softening that comes from falling profoundly in love with your children is a gift the world desperately needs, and it is safe to share it beyond the borders of your home. We need men who are tender and gentle and willing to take emotional risks. We need men who are vulnerable and honest and actively engaged in dismantling the impossible expectations of “being a man” this culture has imposed.

We need good dads. Zoe’s daddy is an amazing example of emotionally intelligent fatherhood, and my hope is she will grow into a happy, confident woman as a result of having such a profoundly good dad. I am unspeakably grateful to have him as my partner.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the men who are struggling to integrate the role of being a good dad with being an American Man. I see you. Keep trying. We need you.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the people who’ve stepped into parenting roles for children not their own. You’re doing the world a valuable service.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the dads who can’t be with their children today for any reason, and to those who are desperate to become fathers and haven’t been able to yet. I know some single dads out here making it happen, and you should know you’re doing a great job.

Happy Fathers’ Day to my own father, as well. He set a parenting example I hope to live up to of being reliably present for his children at all times. That trust is a gift.

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