Here's the thing, men.
The Church and even the world needs good, holy men to join the priesthood. Compassionate, faithful, strong, loving, giving men. Good men. And I will be the first to agree with that.
Now that we've got that cleared up, I will move on...
You want to know what else the world needs? Good fathers.
You're probably thinking, "Duh! No big." Right? Well please allow me to shine a light on what that means.
Being a father and a leader of a family is a tough job. It requires all of you. Here, I will repeat that.
Being a father requires all of you.
It's a promise and a commitment. It's a huge responsibility. But you know what? I don't think I'd be venturing too far to say that it's extremely rewarding. Rewarding in ways you and I could never imagine.
It takes a real man to be a father. Not to have a child. I feel like it's safe to say that that task is quite simple. But to be a father...well...that requires a great deal of strength in order to be successful in such a role.
I just want us all to be on the same page before we go making any rash decisions in the future. Decisions we aren't ready for or aren't able to handle. As a parent, you are in charge and responsible for the well-being of another human life. A life given to you by your Father. A life you brought into the world. When you bring that life into the world planned or not, you are now under obligation. To simply walk away from something so indescribably fragile and beautiful is, in essence, the fall of your virility.
In my honest opinion, it's as simple as that.
After having a child, everything you do affects them. Everything. From what you eat, to what you wear, to what you say, and to even who your friends are - all of it matters. Those little eyes see and those little hearts remember. They never forget. You are the #1 role model in their life. As their father, you are their rock and their constant. You are their strength, their protection, and their captain. Where you go, they will follow. Their full, complete trust is in you.
Here is an example of a good father.
If you aren't sure of who this is, please allow me to introduce to you, St. Joseph. The foster father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the man who set the bar so high that I feel like every other father after him should look to his life as an example. He was called to be a father and caretaker whether he wanted it that way or not. He stood up and filled the role he was called to fill. No ifs, ands, or buts. He was everything a father should be. A protector, a teacher, and a caregiver. I can only hope that more fathers will look to him in reference.
To have a child and to stick around does not make a man a good father. Just because you are "around" does not mean you are present in your child's life.
Do you cheer them on? Do you listen to their thoughts, hopes, and dreams? Do you do your best to try to make those come true? A child demands for the parents to be fully present.
It isn't natural for a child to grow up without a father. Inevitably, those children will be missing some key points in being raised that only a father can bring. Those children will have a missing piece in their hearts that only a father can fill. The same can be said for the role of the mother.
Those children need a hero. A man who is strong, gentle, and understanding. A provider, a supporter, a coach, an educator, and a leader.
A father they can look up to.
To all fathers - past, present, and future - here is an excerpt from Edgar A. Guest's "Only a Dad":