What is a Father

by Daniel Senteno

What is a father, better yet, who is a father? You might be amazed by the simplicity of the question, but I assure you, it is far from simple. If you search for the definition of father, what will you find? The dictionary defines father as an object, thus your search will perhaps yield the following definitions: a male parent, a father-in-law or adoptive father. These characterizations only define the word father; yet, they do not portray who a father really is. Most of you can relate to a figure that best resembles the description of that word; however, there is a different type of father. This type of father is more common in today’s society, but holds an opposite definition of the word father; this type of father was also at one point in time, criticized and frowned upon by society. The following will depict to you the characteristics of a father. Perhaps it will give you a better understanding and meaning of who a father truly is.

You may search over and over for a true meaning of father, but a genuine answer you will not find. In the process, all you will uncover are technical and lexical definitions. Here is what no encyclopedia or dictionary can tell you about a father. A father’s bravery carries a heavy heart. We may not understand our fathers’ decisions. Their guidance goes beyond words; their sacrifice is often not seen; their actions express their love. Fathers, they see our faults and correct them; they see our burdens and carry them; we, their children, see their imperfections and understand them; we see their faithfulness and honor them.

Female Genital Mutilation Tania Breton

Female Genital Mutilation Tania Breton

A father is one who can be the disciplinarian as well as the nurturer, one who can put their child’s needs first and one who can manage working and parenting by somehow fitting 30 hours’ worth of responsibilities into a 24 hour day. Fathers are those who can be role models for their children, and those who play an active role in their child’s education. Fathers sacrifice their life for love, the love of a child. Fathers will give up staying out all night to stay home and watch their child play; protecting them from the invisible monsters under the bed. A father will walk countless miles and wash endless piles of dishes and clothes. They will stand up to anyone who tries to infuse non-sense in to their child’s head. If a child falls and bust his mouth, the father will hold the child tightly until the tears stop pouring out. Even though it might be time for bed, a father will give in when the child begs and pleads to stay up late and finish watching cartoons. Fathers plant kisses on their child’s cheeks, hugs on their back and love on their child the best way they know how. They do everything within their power to kick open the windows of opportunity for their child; so that they can reach towards the stars and never forget that the sky is the limit.

Fathers make many mistakes; fathers are not perfect, but abandoning their family is one mistake that true fathers will never make. Like the foundation of a home, a father will hold a family together, never giving in or letting up. A father balances two jobs, two kids and a life; hides the stress that the child knows nothing about. A father gives us spankings for the dirty shoes left behind on the freshly cleaned floor tiles. Out of frustration the father might throw bills from the table on to the floor, while the children stand crying and protesting about not being able to eat out. A father will struggle at work and need to stay late; yet, the father will keep a smile to hide the pain from the child.

This is my story about my father. The father that would utter words I did not quite understand, “this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you;” yet, I was the only one that walked away crying. The father that kept me from noticing the pink papers slapped on the door that read in big bold capital letters for everyone to see, VACATE. I never understood why I had to switch schools and make new friends. My father would cry with me reassuring me that everything would be all right. My father, who watered me with blood, sweat and tears in hopes that I would one day become someone great.

My father may not be tall, broad-shouldered or muscular, but my father is manly, if manly means to be strong, to protect, to provide. And I hope to one day become as great of a father as SHE was to me. In my life, father is, always has been and will always be my mother. My father carries a purse instead of wallet, wears perfume and not cologne, carries a makeup kit, rather than a tool kit. So please, open your encyclopedias, your dictionaries, “Google it,” if you please, show me the definition of father. I assure you that you will not find father defined as a mother. But Webster’s definition of father means nothing to me; to me, my father is my mother and I love her with all of my heart.

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