Fathers are so cool, they can be the best person in a child's life....or the worse. It's their choice. Much of it depends on their own bringing up, how they interpret the role of parenthood, especially the role of being the father. Fathers balance the family scales with mothers, giving the children in the nest two places to rely on. From the dawn of history, mothers were the nurturers, the consoler, and source of gentle loving confidence. Fathers, on the other hand, provided the means to which the family survived, food, money, shelter, and protection from the outside.
Children, therefore, saw in a father the strength of one beyond their own capacity. The automatic dependence was a source of security that only in the strength of the father could a child even think of venturing outside the cocoon of the mother's nest.
The father's dependence on the mother was also a sign of strength to the children. His love and devotion to their mother impressed upon their children that strength is a sign of wisdom when it can bow down to dependence and devotion to another.
In August, at the Catholic Media Network and Catholic Writer's Conference Live event in Philly, I was able to meet just such a father in Deacon Steve. He and his daughter, Karina, wrote a book together sharing their history and growth in their belief and dependence in God. "Why God Matters," is a compilation of experiences and life lessons that both brought them closer together and instilled in them that God is there for them at each and every corner of their lives. Both are a complete delight and without saying a word are beacons of hope for those around them in God. Just by their actions, you can tell they have joy in their hearts and hope on their sleeves. They know God and God knows them.
Meeting them both, I can see that Karina is the person she is because of her father's role in her life. Deacon Steve, has truly been a devoted father to both his daughters and completely devoted to their mother. Yes, trials followed him throughout their family life, but it never dimmed their love for God, on the contrary, it strengthened their awareness of His presence.
The stories in their book will make you laugh, cry, and even give you an "Ah ha" moment through their life lessons section following each chapter. I loved the book and went away from reading it with the wide-open message that fatherhood is so imperative to a child's psyche and security. Karina is blessed and Deacon Steve is a blessing.