I’ve always had my father in my life. Say what you will, since everyone has their faults, he has been a constant presence and 80% of parenting is simply being there. So it’s difficult to imagine how I’d feel if he’d walked out on our family or not been in the picture in the first place. I can’t imagine the profoundness of my sadness or how that might evolve into anger or how that anger might transform into outright rage or hate.

Too many of us don’t know how to be fathers because we’ve never had a real father or have never seen the importance of a real father due to the absence of one in our lives. I love my two boys and I plan on raising them to be the type of men they ought to be, and one of the conversations I have started to have with them (even though they are only in kindergarten and first grade) is that I’m not raising another generation. There will be no misunderstandings on this point: if they consider themselves grown enough to have sex, they will be grown enough for the responsibilities that come along with it.

They will be raising that child. I’m not the automatic babysitter and I’m definitely not going to be giving up my weekends so that they can continue to rip and run as if they don’t have a care in the world. I have done my time. And guess what? They aren’t going to dump all of the work of taking care of the child on the women they got pregnant. They will be a part of that child’s life if I have any say in the matter.

I have been blessed to not only have my biological father in my life, but also other men who have been models of what true fathers should be. I think I had underestimated how much he has shaped and formed my life. I also realized the great debt that I owe them for the man that I’ve become and how much I love him. We should all be so lucky to have such fathers.

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