At times, the importance of a father or a father-figure can be overlooked, seeing as to how child-rearing continues to be viewed as the mother's role or "duty." However, research is showing that fathers play an essential role in helping their children grow and develop. Not only do fathers serve as a model for their children on how to behave with others, they also serve as a model for who their children may choose as their mates in the future. The way that fathers and mothers interact with their children are different (e.g. how they play with their children), which means that parents of different gender are able to teach their children different things.
Sometimes, fathers may be physically or emotionally absent through no fault of their own, maybe as a result of work location, stress, health issues, etc. But if possible, I would like to ask all fathers to review what may be considered to be "essential" tasks in their lives to make sure it is worth it to sacrifice the time and energy they spend away from their children. Time awaits no one. So while the thought of wanting to earn more money "for now" and then "make it up" and spend time with children "later" is easy to do, just remember that each day that has passed is gone and cannot be retrieved or "made up," not even with all the money in the world.
When the biological father is not in the picture or is an "absent" father in the physical or emotional sense, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, family friends, teachers, school staff, etc. can, and often do, serve as important father-figures in the lives of the children they spend time with.
Being a father and a father-figure is not easy, comes with few rewards at times, and requires a lot of patience. But in the end, your efforts will not go unnoticed. Your impact will surface either implicitly and/or explicitly in both small and big ways in the children that you love and care for.
So to all the wonderful fathers and father-figures out there today, thank you for stepping up and taking an active role in the care of your children and/or the children around you. You play an essential role in making our succeeding generations great.
"Any fool can have a child. That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father." -President Barack Obama