I Believe in Fathering

A father and son nuzzle each other; the father looking up, holding his son aloft.

I believe in fathering

I believe in the radical idea that men have the full human capacity to nurture

Hair bows and baseballs
Cooking and creativity
Tools and tiaras
Camping and dancing
Snuggles and shrieks of delight

Too many fathers don’t believe in their own fathering

Too many are scarred by their own fathers to hear their heart say otherwise

Too many have known fathers who, faced with a quivering lip and tears, could only say “man up."

Too many have known fathers who knew only yelling and hitting

Too many have known fathers who lost sight of their sacred role of protector and became tormentor

But I believe in fathering.

When a human being gestates and gives birth their brain changes permanently.

A father’s brain changes permanently too—changes as he rocks his baby to sleep, delights in baby games, and soothes bumps and bruises. A father earns his new neurobiology.

In a world where too many mothers hand their co-parent directions more specific than those given to the babysitter;

Where a father out with his kids is asked, “Are you babysitting?” and “Where’s mom?”;

Where fathers are the punch line,

I believe in fathering. I believe in the radical idea that men have the full human capacity to nurture.

Whether their children come through birth, adoption, or fostering; through scouts, sports, Sunday school, or youth group

I’ve known too many gay dads, too many single fathers, too many men raising children others couldn’t to believe otherwise.

I believe we all—especially our children—deserve to know that the human capacity to nurture belongs to every one of us.

I believe in fathering.