If you were to ask your average human “what is the biggest contribution made by male animals to that of their offspring?”, ‘sperm’ would likely be a popular answer. The majority of humans would agree fundamentally that most male animals are uninvolved fathers; providing the kick-start to life itself and then not much more.
Not always true.
- The male pigeon does the parenting, including the ability to produce milk.
- The male bullfrog protects his tadpoles against enemies often many times his size.
- The male wolf returns to its den to disgorge food in several little piles, making it easier for the cubs to eat without competition.
- It is the male seahorse that becomes pregnant and only after a long courtship.
- The male penguin provides the incubational care for the egg, balancing it safely between his feet for days on end.
Consider that although subtle, our largely skewed perspective of animal fatherhood carries over to human fathers and why fathers, particularly of this generation, are largely misdirected and misunderstood. This misunderstanding comes not only from much of the female population, but even more so from the male population. In other words, while a mother’s role is considered to be clearly mapped out through (all-encompassing) love and compassion, a father’s role is as foggy as the variety of opinions of each subject asked.
Now consider that parents generally have no true role, except that of influence. One could argue that if a person has made the decision to become a parent, they have made the choice to parent a child (or children) to an extent where varying degrees of sacrifice are required, thus having these sacrifices define much of their role. This is where influence must overtake any other definition of a parent’s role, in turn creating choices rather than sacrifices. Of course because life is forever changing moment by moment, the information on what one bases their choices is forever changing. The supreme responsibility of a father (and mother) is to be authentic in their actions and decisions and it is through this influence that a parent’s individual role is shaped, subtly passing down the most basic and meaningful lessons to the child.
Although often promoted, our modern society does not readily encourage or easily accept authenticity. Great courage is necessary to parent from a place of ferine fathering—trusting instincts, following intuition, practicing, learning, trying, failing, succeeding and being guided by our own child’s innate direction and wisdom.
Here is where the resource of Heads Up Dad can be of great benefit. The mandate of this website is to help encourage parents, particularly fathers, to be as open-hearted and authentic in their life as possible and to have fun while they’re at it. What better a role model could a child have? The contributors of this site have been carefully selected based on not only personal and professional experience, yet on their desire to be authentic and live a happy and full life.
You may already be a father, either by choice or happenstance. You may be planning on becoming a father or some capacity of a caregiver to a child. If you feel that this is your mission as well–to live happily and authentically, please consider yourself a contributor. Your input and involvement, and yes—your influence in HeadsUpDad will largely be what steers this ship.
We look forward to learning and parenting with you.