The Office of Fatherhood
In an era of social confusion, Father’s Day lends an opportunity to honor and clarify this unique and valued office. I use the word office because it denotes Fatherhood as an answering to duty by one who is fitted for that performance.
WOW’s 7th position on Fatherhood states:
We encourage men of all ages to obtain the knowledge, skills, wisdom, and confidence necessary to assume their role as honorable leaders, proficient providers, and loving husbands and fathers in their homes and families.
Fatherhood involves a voluntary trust between wives and children that institutions have traditionally and wisely supported even censured in its neglect. Centuries of wisdom illustrate that a weakened, frustrated, and confused society is the result when this trust is broken. Homer dramatically contrasts this idea between his Iliad and Odyssey. In the Iliad, there is the destruction of a whole society because of one infidelity. Its companion epic, the Odyssey, teaches that faithfulness between one couple Odysseus and Penelope preserved a society that was beginning to unravel.
While the man’s role of defender or protector appears innate, the actual making of boys fit for the office of Husband and Father is a unique male challenge and an art that is best practised by Fathers, supported by Mother. This transition from boyhood to manhood was not lost in Homer’s story either. He illustrates Telemachus’ difficult struggle into manhood in the long absence of his father.
As far as a Husband and Father’s responsibility of provider, I’ll use my own story, since the conquer and plunder method of Odysseus has become antiquated, thank goodness. I am currently a degreed stay at home Mom and quite content with my hiatus out of the workforce, and total economic dependence on my husband. In fact, I am grateful for my husband’s assuming his office as provider for the family. I spent about a decade trying to balance work and family, and found it exhausting, stressful and unbalanced. It actually led to health issues. I felt I couldn’t really give my best self to anything or anyone. The last fourteen years out of the workforce, commencing with the birth of my third child has felt healthy, natural, and balanced. I feel I’m better able to give my best self and feminine energy to the people and things I care about the most. I attribute this to my husband and me learning to live better within our complementary spheres. We’ve discovered Father in his office and Mother in hers helps to harmonize the home and is the natural ingredient children and societies thrive in. May God bless Fathers and Fatherhood that uniquely male office.