The two words have been used synonymously for as long as one can remember; however, the differences are more than subtle.
You don’t hear about the analysis of the “dad” figure by Sigmund Freud or Jacques Lacan for nothing. A father is something more similar to a concept than something one actually wants to be tangible.
Same reason why you don’t hear individuals who had been adopted as saying “biological dad”. It’s always a biological father. In a way any man whose sperm was responsible for your birth is your father, technically speaking. But someone who loves you and raises you gives you his name and also is responsible for you and your happiness is your true dad.
Below are some of the things that draw the line between a person who is just a father and a person who is a dad.
1. One is an entity, the other an emotion
Ever known the difference between the ratty t-shirt you cannot sleep without and an uncomfortable, unfashionable school uniform? That’s the difference between a dad and a father.
Being a dad is having an emotional pillar to hold you; a tree you can hold on to during impossible storms. Simply put, someone who can hug you and make things okay.
A father is someone who has little or no emotional connection with you in your life. At most, this is someone who pays the bills for you because he is socially responsible for you. Worst case scenario, this can be someone who abuses you emotionally, mentally or physically; he is nowhere near the ray of sunshine a dad is.
Any fertile man can be a father, but it takes a lot of love to be a dad. As a matter of fact, dads are the real-life superheroes in our lives, who live up to the great responsibilities that come with their great power.
2. Dads are always present. Fathers are not
Dads are holistically responsible for the well-being of their children. They are supports in all aspects, economical: paying all the bills and taking care of the justified wants of the child:
Social: Dads are responsible for making great citizens of society out of their children. This also means using justified means of disciplining the child, when needed.
Physical: Dads will take care of your health, in every way they can; mental: they will make you healthy human beings mentally and make sure the stresses of life do not get to you.
Emotional: They are the bedrock of your life, when everything else does you wrong.
Fathers might just not be there. As a matter of fact, that is the case of so many children all over the world, who grow up without someone to look up to; like a dad.
3. The gaps in talking – Dad’s Listen, A Father Hears
A child’s mind is like a blank slate. It needs the right amount of stimuli, the right kind of stimuli and a manner that makes the stimuli comprehensible. Dads are experts at doing this. They will go down to the child’s level to make themselves and their wisdom accessible for the child. They will make sure the bridge of communication is strong. Dads make an effort to better understand their children, thinking at their level – They LLISTEN to them. This makes their children better equipped for life, as they understand all the important lessons about life early on, and pretty well.