Fatherhood is tough. Add in being a husband too and it’s damn near impossible. Only a man can handle an adventure that big. Fighting dragons is easy when you only have to worry about yourself.
My daughter’s favorite movie right now is Finding Nemo. Soon she’ll watch other movies of fatherly heroes like Hook and The Incredibles.
Nobody should underestimate the importance or difficulty of fatherhood. It’s not just the difficulty of providing for needy, vulnerable children in a world single-handedly dedicated to wiping out human life. We have to be moral heroes too. And we have to make it look easy. Both children and wives want exactly that.
While much in modernity is dedicated to getting men “in touch with their feminine side” women never have and never will want a feminine man. They want a tough guy, mentally if not physically. He must be willing to sacrifice.
Our children, especially young ones, look at us like demi-gods. They argue with each other on the playground, “my dad can beat up your dad” just to reaffirm to themselves that daddy is a hero, and will save them. What’s worse is we have to make them believe it. Those fragile little humans have to believe dad is actually Superman if they are going to respect and trust us as they age.
One of the most painful realizations of adulthood, especially for men, is realizing how powerless we feel. It is compounded for many of us when our dads say, “I felt the same way. I feel like a rowboat in a tsunami.” We look at our children and want only the best for them. But we’re mortal. Most of us aren’t millionaires. We’re not action heroes. Most of us don’t have abs of steel. If only we could be Superman so we could guarantee success!
But there’s good news. You don’t have to be Superman, though your wife probably won’t mind the abs of steel. You can just be a man. Being there, sticking it out day after day is far more important than the superheroics. A dad who asks his children what they want and how they are—taking time to know them and care for them—will venture far better than an occasional father with a sub-8% bodyfat. The same goes for husbands.
Our wives and kids need us. The concept of the Electra Complex demonstrates how much they need us. They need us to be there, to love them, and protect them. We must rise to the challenge, even if it kills us. It probably will.