• By Lt. Tim McMillan

There Are Dads and Then There Are Fathers.

It doesn’t really take a whole lot to be a dad. In fact, to become a dad it merely takes someone to be willing to have sex. As we should all know in the adult world, sex is an activity that is engaged in the majority of the time with no intentions to ever make a baby. Essentially, there is a host of people in this world who become dads, however, they have no intentions of being nor will they ever be a father. Nevertheless, there are still some opportune children who may never truly know their dad, however, they will still have a father.

See, being a dad is merely a designation that one receives because their genetic coding represents one-half of another human’s genetic code. In essence, a dad is defined by biological terms and inherently is a generic label. However, a father represents something far more intimate and significant.

A dad represents an inanimate adjective, while a father is a very animated role. The responsibility of being a father is a role that one chooses to accept. When a person chooses to step up to the role of fatherhood, they do so with the willingness to embark into a complex and unique world like no other. We like to pretend, that a father doesn’t have the same degree of significance to a child’s development as the mother. However, the pioneer of childhood developmental psychology, Erik Erikson demonstrated in his unprecedented studies, a father’s love and mother’s love are measurably different. Fatherhood comes with accepting the responsibility that being a father will have a significant impact on a child’s emotional and intellectual growth.

Now, if you were paying attention, I have not mentioned the term father in connection with a man. This is what makes fatherhood so fascinatingly complex, studies have overwhelmingly demonstrated that a father is widely beneficial for childhood development. However, and hold your skull together so your brain doesn’t explode when I say this…. a father does not have to be a man (American Psychological Association, 2017) (Canadian Psychological Association, 2006) (Short, Riggs, Perlesz, Brown, & Kane, 2010).

That’s right, the overwhelming consensus by scientific researchers and psychologists is that children raised by same-sex couples are as physically and psychologically healthy, capable and successful as those raised by opposite-sex couples. Now, this ultimately proves exactly what I mean, when I say, one doesn’t have to be a dad, to be a father. So indeed, a father is a role that one takes upon themselves, and it is one of the most prominent roles any person can ever choose to have. The only title of comparable magnitude is the title of mother.

In the majority of dynamics, a father is a figure that imparts upon a child the importance of justice, fairness, and a sense of duty based on rules. Fathers help build a child’s confidence through play, interaction, and experience. It is the father, who has made many a mother nervously say the phrase, “Not so high" as they tossed their little one in the air.

Ultimately, the biggest responsibility that a father must perform is to teach a child about the world of men. To a son, a father must impart on him, how he should treat women. To the daughter, a father must equally convey how a woman should be treated by a man.

Make no mistake, to be a father is by no means an easy task. The tribulations of fatherhood are something I know very well since indeed, I happen to be one. I’ve experienced the joys such as when my son, Kemper at three-years-old would love it when he and I wore matching Captain America shirts. Equally, I’ve felt confusing sadness, that feels silly yet simultaneously makes you want to cry when at four-years-old, he told me one day he didn’t want to wear our matching shirts that day. I’ve felt the confusion and then realized that I was no longer cool, after hearing my 10-year-old daughter, Sydney telling her friend that some new music video she had watched was, “Lit.” I have experienced those bright, innocent and excited eyes, of my 10-month old daughter, Adley when she sees me walk into a room and she starts saying, “Dadadadadad.” I’ve even seen the dirty looks from my wife, after I’ve come back from the grocery store, initially to just get milk, yet somehow a new toy has found its way into our home, because of my three-year-old, Gideon, who was just too darn cute to tell no.

Fatherhood will push you to levels of frustration or stress, where you find yourself thinking, “I may end up really killing one of these little humans.” However, simultaneously you alway know you’d give your own life for any one of your kids in an instant.

At the end of the day, to be a father, you must not only raise your kids to be good people, you must also be a good person as well. Because no life lesson you will ever teach your children will be more important than who you demonstrate to your them you are. Because after all of the diaper changes, potty training, help with homework, teenage girlfriend/boyfriend drama, teaching how to drive a car, change a tire, high school graduations, first jobs, and every other countless number of experiences you will have with your child; at the end of the day, everything that in that a father ultimately will prepare his child for, is to someday be able to recognize what is a good father for their own children. Because, you may not be able to choose, whether or not you’ll be a grandparent someday. However, as a father, one absolutely has a responsibly to prepare their kids to be able to recognize what a good father is should they so choose for themselves to one day have kids.

So with all of that said, to all of those in this world who choose to take on the awesome role of being a father, I wish you all a very Happy Father’s Day. Now, to those dads out there, you honestly have no idea what you are missing. Because, truthfully, having a day that celebrates the role of a father seems silly to me. Because the gift of being one alone is all the benefit one should ever need.

Tim McMillan is a retired police lieutenant and investigative intelligence analyst; and holds BA's in mathematics and cognitive psychology. Primarily, focusing on the Defense and Intelligence Communities, he now uses his unique background, coupled with a willingness to examine any mystery, to deliver groundbreaking investigative reporting. Tim is a contributor for The War Zone, Vice, and Popular Mechanics

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© Lieutenant Tim McMillan All Rights Reserved by The Raziel Group LLC