I think a lot of emphasis is placed on the importance of the practical roles of a father, and rightly so. A father is expected to protect, to guide, to provide and to renovate. I guess that is why there is a massive spike in the rate of DIY accidents among fathers than men that have no children. By the way I just made up that statistic, did you believe that statement? It makes sense though.
One aspect that is undervalued is that of the words the father speaks. Encouragement, affirmation, direction, discipline and observations are essential to unlocking the full potential of one’s child and to make the relationship as wholesome as possible. I think about the few times my father’s dished out verbal discipline and how those moments have stuck more than any other. I find it hard to do the things he admonished me for simply because of our relationship and his role in my life. As a result I sometimes wonder if I would be drastically different had I been admonished more. Would I have less of what I view as character and organisational flaws?
Self-esteem and self-confidence can be massively boosted by having a father who affirms you. You are a genius, you are beautiful. If you hear such rousing statements from someone who matters so much to you, you won’t have that void being filled by another character in your life. You’ll find you’re less prone to people pleasing and you don’t need to impress others to earn their respect. You would have developed self-respect by knowing you are valued from a young age.
Lastly regarding direction. While it is important for a father to give room for a child to grow in their talents it is also essential to help point out the skills and talents the father views, as unbiased as possible. Mostly those that are phenomenally talented at something don’t see how good they are until someone tells them. I believe it is the role of the father to observe what his children’s talents are and prescribe possible pathways for them to make the most impact on this earth. Furthermore we forget how difficult and unreasonable it is for a teenager still in the process of discovering oneself to make vital decisions that can potentially set the direction for the rest of their lives in stone. During this crucial period guidance from a father, who presumably has accrued wisdom through wide reading, and experiences (partaken of and received through sharing), will be able to give the child as many (right) options and a good way of helping them choose which one.
Perhaps it’s time for Dads to stop being the silent brooding voice but to speak out more often and to do so positively.