Although human think-ing is enhanced by generalizing and noticing patterns, the same process that helps us draw conclusions can sometimes blind us to facts that do not fit our conclusions. This is the case when it comes to fatherhood — more than ever. No two dads are alike, nor do any two dads have the exact same personality or circumstances. Think about how the various dads in the joke below have differing lives:
In the old days, four men were waiting in the hospital lounge; their wives were in the process of delivering babies. A nurse dashed over to the first man and said, “Congratulations! You’re the father of twins.”
“That’s a coincidence” replied the first man. “I work for the Minnesota Twins!”
A nurse greeted the second fellow, “Congratulations! You’re the father of triplets!”
“That’s amazing,” gasped the second man. “I work for the 3M company!”
Soon the nurse proceeded to inform the third man, “Congratulations! You’re the father of quadruplets!”
“That’s fantastic,” he answered. “I work for the Four Seasons hotel!”
The last man moaned, groaned and pounded his chest.
“What is the matter with you, man?” the new fathers asked.
The man replied painfully, “I work for the production team of ‘101 Dalmatians’!”
Size of family, blended or traditional family, working mom, working dad, stay-at-home mom, stay-at-home dad, divorced, never married, living in different states, working for long periods of time abroad, with step-children or unrelated half siblings of step-children, teens, toddlers — all these and many other factors contribute toward a diverse group of men who own the title “Dad.”
I have known many folks who found their families broken — people who had hoped to remain married to their original spouse until death parted them. Drugs, unfaithfulness, crime, violence or mental illness are among the many issues that break up marriages. Those of us who have been able to evade such things are graciously blessed — people just like us may have not been so blessed. There are no guarantees when it comes to marriage and child-rearing.