Why is it that fathers always have to be there? I know it’s their job, to look after your well-being, to guide and protect you, but at the same time so many of them simply seem to refuse to let you grow up. Often is the time when I am trying to work on an assignment or project, when my father, in all his “wisdom”, barges into the room to try and change what I am writing, simply because it seems to make more sense to his alcohol-riddled mind. Gone is logic, gone is reason, and gone is learning and education. Simply to try and show off his know-how in a subject completely foreign to him. Is it so hard to grasp the concept that I actually know what I’m doing? That I don’t constantly need a hawk to peer in and instruct the ant on how to store food? Don’t get me wrong, I love my father. He truly is a lovable man. My brother and I both get along with him, despite our clashing personalities and different opinions. However, how do you explain to a man that has raised you your whole life that, in this instance, you no longer need his assistance? What words can I say to make him realise that in some areas of life I have surpassed him, and how can I say this to him without hurting him or turning him against me? To be a father means to care for and protect your entire family, to be the pillar of support in their everyday struggle of living. To be the person to hug when you’re upset, or the person to talk to when confused. A father is one that you trust to help keep your head afloat, to pull you out of trouble, despite the pain of discipline and consequence. A father is your teacher throughout life, instilling in you the morals that you live by, as well as nurturing your gifts, which, thanks to genetics, your father has as well. But what about from the father’s perspective? How much does he seem to be this unending pillar of strength and support, when in actual fact it is us that keep him upright? I once heard a quote that went something along the lines of, “You take care of your kids well enough so that in the end they take care of you.” Where does this balance tip over? Where is the point that we kids start looking after our parents? Maybe we always have, without even knowing it. I can recall many a time that a brought a smile to my parents’ faces through some childish act of innocence. Even more are the times when I am older, and endeavour to cheer up my parents after a hard day’s work, whether it just being someone to talk to, or by telling the most ridiculous jokes. I believe that our parents, and even more so our fathers, often just need to feel appreciated. But even more than that: they want to still be needed. Fathers dread the day when their son moves out to live under his own roof, or when their daughter leaves home to travel. It’s not the control they don’t want to relinquish. It’s the intimate connection between parent and child that they have had for over 20 years. Try to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you raised someone up, watched them grow, moulded them into something great, all the time learning who they are, their hopes and dreams, their good and bad sides. And then one day, you have to let that person walk out of your life, never to fully return. The bond will always still be there, but how close can you be to someone when you live apart from them? To be a father is to love and care for your children, raising them to be like you if not better, certain in the knowledge that one day, they will leave you, and never truly return. To be a father, is to be stronger than I can imagine. And so I let my father “instruct” me on things he doesn’t understand, and I cry at night. I cry because he is grasping for any opportunity to still be my father, and yet I even know that one day I will leave him. I draw the conclusion that no matter what, I love my father, and can never thank him enough for what he has done for me.