Anyone can become a father. Anyone can make a baby. Anyone can create life. But it takes someone special to shape that life.
You’re not a dad just because you make enough money to pay the bills. Because your name is scribbled onto a birth certificate. Because you passed your genes down to another generation.
Those things make you a father — but they don’t make you a dad.
A dad sticks around. He doesn’t leave the second things get hard. He doesn’t give up on himself, on his family, and walk out the door without a goodbye. He doesn’t abandon his children and claim he did the best that he could, that there was nothing more he could have done with what he was given.
A dad puts in effort, even when he feels like he is out of his comfort zone, even when he feels like he doesn’t have the energy to keep moving forward. He tries his hardest to make his family proud, because he knows that whether he wants to be or not, he is an example for his children.
He is an example of how men treat women. He is an example of how relationships work. He is an example of how adults behave.
A dad will show his children what respect really means. He will treat all women with kindness — whether it is the cashier at the grocery store or the mother of his children. He would never be caught calling someone a whore or a skank or useless. He would never raise his hand or punch through a wall. He would never lose his temper in a way that becomes scary.
A dad makes a point to become the best man he can be. He doesn’t lie. He doesn’t cheat. He doesn’t day drink. He doesn’t set a poor example for his children about what love looks like, about how family should be treated.
A dad puts his children before himself — not just in theory, but in practice. He does more than brag about his kids to his coworkers. He does more than claim that his kids are the best thing that ever happened to him.
A dad is actually there for his children. He knows the names of their favorite bands. He knows their work schedule. He knows what problems they’re having in school and what they are planning on doing over the summer.
A dad realizes that his role doesn’t end, just because his kids are full-grown. Out of the house. Making their own money. Living their own lives.
A dad never stops being a good role model. He never lets himself slack. He never screws over his children, because their happiness matters more than his own.
A father assumes that he deserves the love of his children just for bringing them into this world and putting a roof over their head — but a dad works his hardest every damn day to earn that love. A dad does whatever it takes to care for his kids, because they mean everything to him.