The Role of Fatherhood

Nowadays, fatherhood is an underrated part of the family. Many people fail to realize the great lesson fathers teach their children and the significant role of fatherhood. Fathers teach their children one of the most important lessons in life: namely, how to sacrifice one’s own private good for the common good. Of course, this is not to deny that mothers teach their children self-sacrifice since there are countless sacrifices that mothers make for their children as well. In fact, a mother that really loves her child would probably do anything for the good of her child. Nevertheless, fathers teach their children this lesson in a particular aspect that children need to see from paternal male role models.

Any father that loves and cares for his family would do anything he could to protect and provide for his children and spouse. “Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn’t like to, in order to protect his family.” This quote by Ralph Moody captures that idea that true fatherhood is about protecting and providing for his family, whether it’s changing the baby’s diaper, driving his wife to the hospital in the middle of the night when she’s about to give birth, or waking up early every morning and going to work to support his family. One of the most important lessons that fathers teach their children is self-sacrifice. 

This evidence of male self-sacrifice is so important for the child because it is where the child first learns that the universal idea of human dignity is worth protecting. No one would sacrifice his own good unless the good that he was sacrificing for was better. From this lesson, children learn to love and appreciate their fellow brothers and sisters in life, and that starts in the family. The father shows his children that they ought to sacrifice and be soldiers not only for their family but also for their country, their community, and most of all for the common good of humanity. He shows this to them by the unique way that he sacrifices for his family by interacting and participating in society. Manhood is based upon sacrificing for the common good. The lessons that the father and mother teach their children are different but complementary toward the end of their child’s upbringing. The idea of fatherly self-sacrifice teaches the child their duty in life for the sake of others and the common good.

“ A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.” – Ian Morgan Cron

There are many great role models who would not have been able to accomplish the feats that they did if they did not have this virtue of sacrificing for the common good. The men in Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s search for meaning” wouldn’t have risked their lives to get a piece of bread for their starving inmate if they didn’t cherish the idea of sacrifice for others. Paderewski and Shostakovitch never would have used their musical talents to put themselves at risk of persecution from the state if they didn’t believe that the good of lifting up others through their music was a greater good than their own well-being. This idea of self-sacrifice is what heroes embrace. This idea can not be achieved without the role of fatherhood in the family, which is “the fundamental unit of society.”

Published: November 29, 2021
Written by: John Esser, WYA North America intern alumni