Entry 22: Fatherman
A father is a unique creature, by American standards, and my dad is no exception. Most of his adult life has been in service to the Army, so his dad-qualities are special.
A father should raise young ones. My dad, being an awesome person he is, decided to give me his name when I was born. As I watched my other brothers grow up and my mom run a daycare at home, I would always notice how my dad would talk to children with a mature and authoritative persona (mostly because kids freaked out when an adult treated them like an adult, but I still think there's some value in that).
A father should be a teacher. My dad would always tell us to put our shoes on and get ready to head out in 15 minutes. Why and where? We never knew, and we would always complain about having to stop playing games and go to this unknown location that he was going to take us. Every time this happened we'd end up in a cool mall or nature preserve, wanting to stay a little longer. And yet we still never learn that he is going to take us somewhere pretty neat. I guess this is a bad example of him trying to teach us something...
A father should be encouraging. Whenever something great happened in our lives, my dad would always yell "woohoo!" in a similar manner to Homer Simpson. This was also my dad's way of saying "great job" or celebrating his discovery about my prom date. Alas, praises are praises.
A father should promote responsibility. Did I mention that he used to be in the Army? His true identity is Discipline Cantu, and he enforces the law of the land. Even though he would pile chores upon chores for us to do while we were in the middle of playing a game, hindsight reminds me that I have a clean and healthy lifestyle thanks to his household rules.
A father should be a role model. My dad cleans, cooks, and takes care of children just as much as my mother. Even when he pretends to jam to AC/DC with his electric guitar to exert his manliness, everything he tells us to do is by example. He respects other's opinion, no matter how simple they seem; he relates his past mistakes so we won't make the same; and he's not afraid to admit his love to his woman (my mom).
A father should inspire confidence. My dad is an intelligent man, and he's not afraid to show it. Sometimes it can seem dejecting when he destroys us in a game of Scrabble to the Death, but he always inspires us to challenge the man. These little battles taught me that it's not always about the win or end result, but sometimes it's about having fun and enjoying the journey.
A father should have a good sense of humor. Well, he does have a sense of humor, at least. One of his favorite pastimes is buying $1 B movies, usually terrible horror movies about evil marsupials that live in the sewer. He watches these movies that have horrible acting and he laughs his head off when a character blinks while they were "dead." But I also have to come to terms that most of my humor comes from him, usually in the form of puns and wittiness.
A father should be forgiving. My dad knows I'm far from perfect. He knows I'm going to repeat the same mistakes over and over. But he is always there to point me in the right direction. He never gives up on us, and failure is never an option. His tough love tactics work, and a military dad is responsible for that.
A father should always love. Of all the things I've learnt from my life, one is that I am my dad and I am my own. Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, so it's no wonder why I'm extremely similar to my father. He is a good man, and I've always look up to him until I became taller than him, then I respected him. He molds my life in such a way that I can freely fly away knowing he'll be there to teach me more.
So to all the fathers, soon to be fathers, used to be fathers, and those who play the role of a father, thank you. Thanks for the awkward laughs and man hugs when we didn't want them. Thanks for understanding our problems and instilling a sense of respect in us. Without you, we'd still be children amongst men. Happy Father's Day.