“A Celebration of Fatherhood!”
By Stephen L Doherty
September 18th, 2022
“Anyone who tells you that fatherhood is the greatest thing that can ever happen to you, is understating it ..” -Mike Meyers
I am currently crafting a Ted Talk type of speech entitled, “A Celebration of Fatherhood.” It has been my life’s goal to aggregate the collective wisdom and knowledge I’ve accumulated over the last 25-years with my blogs ( The Champs Corner (usachampion.com) my book, “To Father a Champion” ( To Father a Champion: Because Show Beats Tell!: Stephen L. Doherty: 9780974450209: Amazon.com: Books ) and my public speaking endeavors – on behalf of this lifelong love.
The unadulterated joy and pleasure of being a dad. I’d be lying if I didn’t share that part of my ongoing enthusiasm and motivation are in response to our cultural and societal efforts to minimize – even dismiss the importance of fathers in today’s world.
My book, “To Father a Champion” (free copy available at The Book (usachampion.com) ) had twelve key edicts that I felt were crucial to the upbringing of any child. As importantly, the character traits espoused lean heavily on traditional American values that seem even more important today. We live in a chaotic world seeking to find foundations in not just the ignorance of these traditional values, but in the increasing impugnment of such closely held beliefs of generations of Americans.
Patriotism, Honesty, Courage, Kindness, Education, Respect, etc., are but a few of the chapters I’ve dedicated to my exploratory efforts on raising great kids. Hardly novel. Certainly not creative or newly founded. Merely lessons and values and concepts most of us grew up with and were drilled into us by our parents and grandparents.
After two decades of discussions and real life experiences and just digesting what it means to be an effective and successful father, the next chapter – “A Celebration of Fatherhood” will distill the list down to a few I’ve embraced as critical and look forward to sharing. They’re abbreviated to an almost ridiculous degree, the consequences of blog limitations, and I look forward to greatly expanding on them in future speeches and writings.
Throughout my journey of interviews, speeches, writings, and interactions on this topic – nothing has rung so consistently important in the realm of things that matter. Respect. Ralp Waldo Emerson once said that, “Men are respectable only if they respect.”
Respect is such a core and foundational character trait that to me, trumps all others. Anything and everything ultimately eminates from a foundation and core of respecting things that matter; people, institutions, historical sacrifices, each other. The cultural and societal dissolution of this simple but waning trait – will be our undoing.
Alex DeTocqueville once said of America, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” There was a time when I was concerned that inserting faith into a book about fathering might jeopardize its credibility. I’ve come to believe that its inclusion only ensures it.
With all my heart, I believe that ours was a nation founded and molded on Judeo Christian principles and values. The growing absence of these core tenets in the public square are at the root of much that palgues and ails this great nation.
John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, told me simply and bluntly, “The greatest contribution that a father can make to his children, is to love their mother.” In my heart of hearts, I believe that mothers are stronger and more important than fathers in a dozen different ways.
Anything you can do to elevate and celebrate the mothers in your kid’s lives, doesn’t diminish you as a father – but only enhances your fatherhood.
The second your child is born, only a 100% committment to their upbringing and well-being, is acceptable. They’ll be eighteen before you can blink, at which time your role as a father changes and you’ll then have the rest of your own life to live. Presence is so much more of a gift to them than merely being present.
As a parent, learning the difference between committment and obsession can be a hard – but crucial row to plow. Your life doesn’t belong to your child but how you live it will be their greatest tutorial … and your legacy.
There needs to be an 11th Commandment that addresses THE most destructive component of an event already rife with emotional stress and anxiety. While acknowleding that many parties to many divorces are simply unworthy of respect or compassion, the simple fact remains that any additional toxicity we add to the already flaming emotional piers, should be avoided – at all costs. Period!
Two facts drive this belief. 1) Children of divorce hardly need cruel attempts at spousal character assassanation. They’re already suffering enough. Be kind and spiritually generous to your ex – no matter the circumstances. Because, 2) Children aren’t stupid. Someday, they will figure out who has lied to them and, emotional damage aside – they will extract a stiff price from the parent (s) they felt misled or lied to them. Work to ensure that the spiritual well your kids drink from – isn’t polluted by your own emotional neediness.
Being a father is an immensely personal journey that is and always has been defined by our respective values, beliefs, and life experiences. That said, I do believe that there is some common thread born of traditional values and historical axioms that should always guide our efforts.
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”