The Profession of Fatherhood

“Authenticity is totally overrated, totally. I don’t want an authentic surgeon who says, ‘I don’t really feel like doing knee surgery today.’ I want a professional who shows up [regardless of] whatever they feel like, right?”

-Seth Godin

Fatherhood is a lot like this. 

Being a father is professional work.  

Authenticity does not nourish our children when they are hungry. 

When they need care, attention, or guidance, our children do not care about our feelings, our dreams, or our aspirations. 

We do not get a pass on fatherhood just because we suddenly did not feel like it today. 

We cannot simply abdicate our responsibility to our children because whimsy or curiosity led us in a different direction. 

Our children’s needs do not wait for us to live out our unfulfilled adolescent fantasies. 

Nor does it matter to them if our personal childhood needs were or were not met. 

We have to show up anyway. 

And we have to do so on time, every day, and with the professional attitude of someone who genuinely wants to be there, who wants to help, and who cares.

We have to do this even when it is inconvenient, when we do not feel like it, or when we would rather be doing something else.

Because that is what it means to be a father. 

Of course we will not do this perfectly. 

We will make mistakes frequently. 

We will fail often. 

We will doubt ourselves, our abilities, and our resolve. 

However, as professionals, as fathers, we show up anyway. 

We try anyway. 

And maybe, by showing up for many, many days, months, and years in a row and giving our all many, many times over, just maybe we will make a positive, memorable, and long-lasting impact on those whom it is our duty to serve. 

But we are not the only ones to get a say. 

The world gets to have a say and our children do as well. 

All we can do is our part – with effort, intention, and integrity – because the authentic alternative is that we do not simply because we are not in the mood and that is unacceptable. 

HOLISTIC BUDO: As in Life, so too in Budo. As in Budo, so too in Life.

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