Fathers, mothers who are also fathers, family members who step in for fathers who for whatever reason are not present, step fathers, foster fathers, big brothers, scout masters, clergy, teachers...
Listen to me.
The indelible imprint - or lack of, that a father figure has on a child lasts a lifetime. I didn't invent that but so often it's forgotten, it is worth repeating. You are responsible for the first quarter of hopefully a full four quarter life and your choices during that time will influence long after your own life has run out.
In every single case since the beginning of man, no child asks to be born into this life and is completely subject to your skill at parenting, temper, examples and good or bad will. Many times the future success of your child lies in the first quarter of its life due to the experience you alone uniquely provide.
It's your call whether you chose to spend time or not sharing, teaching and loving or being selfish, egotistical and angry.
It's your choice if you decide to engage purely in your own passions and not expose your child to the many beautiful splendors of life and the opportunities it holds.
You can choose to be patient and kind, loving and thoughtful in your voice and your actions or you can choose to be the opposite..
You will be a role model to your sons and daughters whether you choose to or not. One that teaches sons to be good husbands and fathers, or not - one that teaches daughters the norm of how they should expect to be treated by men.
You can show your child the love of tolerance or the ugliness of intolerance.
And, because you are their father, or father figure, they will take after you and believe you. Because children believe their parents.
And, in the end, they will be a lot like you were.
Happy Father's Day to all those who conscientiously and continuously strive to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do for children.