This is a running joke that a father is only as old as his son/daughter for he attains that status only after their birth, but girls can become mom irrespective of any such links. With all due respect, the role of a mom is pretty straight forward in the sense that, almost every single one of the women, knows what it feels like to be a mom. They just have to express it and they are well and truly set on the route of motherhood. They need not even give birth to a kid of their to be called mom. Since the very meaning of mom being love, any women showering love un-conditionally are/can be called mom. But the same doesn't apply for "dad". Being dad is one thing, being called dad is a totally different thing altogether.
Middle aged people wouldn't have any qualms in admitting to call someone as a fatherly figure, who are always someone elder to them. But how much ever you shower love on a kid, the best you can qualify for would be a friendly "uncle". Probably because, if a kid ends up calling every friendly guy as dad, it would result in unwanted comments both about him and his family would be the real reason :)
Probably, the society has designed its own evil way to make sure that the title of being called dad can only be attained by being a parent and no way else. Everything from nature to man made can be tagged with mother - mother nature, mother land, mother document and the list is endless. The source for anything is tagged as mother lode. Poor dads don't get a say even there.
By becoming a parent, then at least, is "dad-hood" attained, is a million dollar question. You can shower "motherly" love and settle with that. But being dad means being responsible. Please note that i am no way belittling the concept of motherhood. If in my attempt to praise the dads, if it sounds otherwise its purely un-intentional. I don't intend to pull "moms" down to raise or praise their significant other half.
Coming back to the concept a father being born along with his kid. I really wonder, if guys in general, how much ever care free or careful they are, ever think of kids till the time they are married. The society has provided men with more freedom and powers as compared to the restrictions placed on women, which makes menfolk a bit more egocentric is my off the cuff observation. Above all everyone would be pampered by their doting mothers which kind of gives them a sense of lord ship over relations. They can flaunt their ego in any gathering of relatives and their financial status, tone and attitude determines the respect they receive. But all of the above are next to nothing, if they can't win over their own kid. Its very easy to crack the whip and be a hard task master. Its very easy to pamper their kid with all their whims and fancies. Its even more easier to delegate these tasks to the mom-folk while the dads slave around for the financial freedom of the family. For a kid growing up, how will they understand the sacrifices of their father, who spends every waking hour working for their betterment? how will they understand that all his scoldings are for their benefit and he doesnt carry any grudge against them? how they shouldn't be disappointed when their first super hero is stumbled for an answer or two for their never ending list of questions? how they wouldn't understand their dad's hurt ego when he is unable to get them things they demand with his salary?
Being dad is the single most important job/role/position/call it whatever in the whole wide world. My favourite of all dad-quotes is that " the most dangerous person in the world is the father of a hungry child". You've to read it twice to feel the power behind the quote and the characteristic of "dad". Whether they act or not, they are constantly being observed and followed by their kids. Whoever they may be, whether responsible or not, they inadvertently or otherwise, become role models for their kids to pursue, adopt,evolve or ignore. How much ever one argue with loads of point in favour of moms, one just have to look at the plight of the man after the demise of his wife, at the hands of his very own kid. That is one phase of life, no son or daughter has ever understood. Its relatively easy to take care of an ageing mom like a kid. But its near impossibly difficult to accept your very own superhero, ageing in front of your own eyes and at your mercy. Its their boon. Its their curse.
For all the above paragraphs, i for one, never realised all this about my own dad, till i became one. May be this post is a result of all these doubts and challenges that lay ahead. Just like the 749 other posts, written prior to this, that i revisit at random, may be some day i will evaluate myself with this very post??
The father becomes the son and son becomes father.