A wise man once said: Father’s Day should be nine months before Mothers’ Day and in some crazy way, this statement makes sense! For men, fatherhood is a byproduct of sex. At least, that’s what evolutionary psychologists tell us. Through the millennia, Children of men have been caused by our sexual instincts as a species and not through rational analysis of the concept of fatherhood. The same goes for other animals. Whether an organism has a one day lifespan like the mayfly or if it lives for a couple of centuries like the bowhead whale , the life of all organisms appears focused on survival, finding a mate, and producing offspring.
And quite frankly, if I were a mayfly with a single day to live, I’d also put mating at the very top of my list! Once that first item is checked off, we humans preoccupy ourselves with the arts, culture, and entertainment in order to fill the remaining hours of the day. Voila! But let’s not get off the subject. Father’s Day is the day we celebrate Fathers. And since I just became a father a month ago and am still a freshman on the subject, I would like to salute those fathers who came before me.
But what are the merits of fatherhood? Other than our biological instinct for sex that results into children, do we have any rational reasons for this act? The project involves so much work and sacrifice that one may wonder what’s the utility of the whole thing. It starts with dirty diapers and ends with a lifetime of anxiety over safety, health, and happiness of our child. An old, Persian expression says, “Children are hard, only for the first one hundred years!”
Yet, when a child smiles, learns, and grows, and especially when she pays her parents back with emotional pride, all those sleepless nights and anxieties melt away and the entire ordeal appears worthwhile. Or does it?
I want to pose these questions to the fathers and others out there, and to those who consciously or unconsciously chose this path. I’d like to ask you to make your case for or against fatherhood in today’s world of dynamic change and uncertain future. Are we leaving a better place for our children, or has our greed and recklessness destroyed our economy and environment irreparably? Is it still a responsible act to bring children into this world given the future challenges?