The Best Gift a Father Can Give His Child
By: Beth McHugh 2006
I was talking recently to a very dear friend who dropped this pearl of wisdom into the conversation: “The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.”
The friend couldn’t remember where she had heard this saying, but it didn’t matter. The wisdom in these few words is both concise and profound. Think about that sentence again: “The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Really, in terms of the bigger picture, this says it all. In loving the mother, he will, by definition, love the child. Yet in loving the mother, he also sets up a profound sense of peace and stability in the child that is irreplaceable. For children who come from a stable, loving background, this may not seem of fundamental importance. That is because they have experienced the deep peace that comes from having grown up in a loving environment and know of no other way of being.
But for adult children of difficult or fractured backgrounds, the head nods in agreement. There was little sense of peace in such an upbringing. This lack of security plays out in later life. It affects relationships at school, relationships at work and, most importantly, love relationships. Not having a sense of childhood stability makes the adolescent and adult individual needy and insecure, and effectively limits their choice of suitable partners. Often children of unstable parental relationships will go on unwittingly to provide unstable homes for their own children, thus repeating the pattern.
A father who loves his children’s mother also sets up a valuable template for both his sons and his daughters. For his sons, he displays a role model which the growing male can take as his own model for treating all the women in his life, from his mother and sisters, to his ultimate life partner.
Such a father also provides a role model for his daughters. Here the impressionable young woman can witness in the comfort of their own home all that they should expect from the men in their lives. They also learn by definition what they should not have to put up with. Having a father who loves your mother makes you more likely to go on to choose a man who will truly love you.
Finally, in giving his children this great gift, he is also demonstrating the very opposite of what some parents believe is good parenting. He is giving the intangible gift of love, not toys, gifts, and endless monetary handouts. Intangible the gift of love may be, but children soak up this invisible commodity like candy. They love it, because they inherently know it is what they need to thrive.
So fathers, show your children that you love their mother. Be as demonstrative as you know how. Stand next to her as you journey through life. The trickle-down effect of loving your partner will envelop your children in a cloak of love that will shield them from much of the harshness of life and encourage them to make better life choices.
There is no greater gift that you can give your children.