This being Father’s Day, I wanted to offer a salute to fathers everywhere who have done their best to shoulder the responsibilities and live up to the ideals of that important office. My own excellent father, now 84, is a godly man who has my eternal gratitude, love, and respect. I’m sure my sons feel the same about their father, my husband. And now I’ve had the honor and slightly surreal experience of seeing our oldest become a father too.
Parenthood isn’t easy and, despite good intentions, we manage to do an imperfect job of it. Fortunately, kids are resilient; they can survive a lot of parenting mistakes. Of all the advice I’ve ever heard on the subject, though, this thought has stayed with me. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love their father/mother (your spouse). In other words, nothing is more key to successfully raising children than the health of their parents’ marriage. I think there’s a lot of truth in that, and it reminded me of this passage in Pride and Prejudice.
Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the impropriety of her father’s behaviour as a husband. She had always seen it with pain; but respecting his abilities, and grateful for his affectionate treatment of herself, she endeavoured to forget what she could not overlook, and to banish from her thoughts that continual breach of conjugal obligation and decorum which, in exposing his wife to the contempt of her own children, was so highly reprehensible. But she had never felt so strongly as now the disadvantages which must attend the children of so unsuitable a marriage … (chapter 42)
So thanks, Mom and Dad, for loving each other through thick and thin. For a look at the less-than-perfect parents of Jane Austen’s novels, please revisit the March post Father of the Year.