The biological act of fatherhood proves nothing about what it takes to be a father. Women with the right doctors can undergo the biological process without direct contact with a father figure for their child.
Fatherhood is something else, and that's the focus of Father's Day.
Fathers aren't the warm and fuzzy parent. They don't carry the child within them for nine months. Their big day in June doesn't quite get the attention that their female counterparts receive on their big day in May. Indeed, the people who make canned copy for special editions never have a section at the ready for Father's Day.
Maybe it's because fathers are often the disciplinarian. Maybe it's because fathers work too much or are unavailable or aloof or absent or just plain not involved.
Unfortunately, according to the Census, 24 million children live in households where their biological father is absent. That lack of a father connects to a host of societal ills, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative, including children who fall into a life of crime, daughters who become pregnant in their teens, more likely to drop out of high school and more likely to get into drugs and alcohol trouble. Even obesity is blamed on the lack of a father in the home.
But every father isn't absent. Everyone knows a father who is everything a father is supposed to be - strong and gentle, disciplining and teaching, supportive and caring. There are certainly fathers who are at every Little League game for their sons, who are there to cheer their daughters at softball games or to dry the tears of their sons and daughters when life deals defeats.
There are fathers who love their children's mothers. There are fathers who go to work every day at a job that may be dangerous or unsatisfying, but they do so because it supports their family and enables the father to be a provider, at least in part with their mother in most households nowadays.
Our hope for everyone this Father's Day is that they have a father who fulfills some, or all, of those qualities.
Children of such fathers should express gratitude and recognize just how fortunate they are in a world where fatherhood is in crisis. Don't take your special dad for granted today. Visit him. Tell him you know how special he is.
Call him if you're away from home.
It's not about a tie or a dinner.
It's about recognizing the invaluable contribution he's made to you.
Make his Father's Day happy.