Sunday’s Wisdom #135: A Father’s Job

“He saved you.”

“Yeah, and you know what he got for that? Me whining about how much he embarrassed me. Me telling him that I hated him. But then he stopped, he turned around, he looked at me, and he said, ‘Son, you don’t like me. That’s fine. It’s not my job to be liked.’”

“’It’s my job to raise you right.’”

– Castiel, Dean Winchester, & Sam Winchester, Supernatural
Season 10, Episode 9, “Things We Left Behind”

Somehow, I almost never manage to simply pay my dad a straight-up compliment, give him some undiluted gratitude, without also mentioning something about how we’ve disagreed and argued and have past issues and so on and so forth. It must be maddening for him, for almost every good thing I say about him to be sandwiched among less complimentary things.

I really do regret that.

So, in the spirit of maybe shaking that off a bit, and paying my dad a tribute like he’s actually owed, I thought I’d share this.

This is a scene where the conversation of our main protagonists has shifted towards the Winchesters’ father, John. The brothers and their father are rather famous for not really getting along. John made a number of mistakes in raising his sons to become monster hunters. There were so many times he simply wasn’t there for them, not the way a father should be. But, it wasn’t all bad. One thing he always did was protect them.

Dean is just telling a story where he disobeyed his father, sneaked out at night, and put himself into company that was likely less friendly than they appeared to be. Then comes his father, with the aura that terrifies all and commands due respect, practically grabbing his son by the scruff of his neck and dragging him out. Yeah, teenage Dean was absolutely defiant and snobby, hardly a just reward for his father at the moment.

Then his father turned to him and said these words, words his sons have remembered ever since.

It’s not a father’s job to be liked. It’s not even a father’s job to do everything right. It’s his job to raise you right, to teach you, train you, equip and protect you the best he can, the best he knows how, and then send you on your way.

Whatever my stupid, selfish, bratty qualms with my father have ever been, this must be said: he didn’t make it his job to be liked, he made it his job to raise me and my sisters right.

Thank you, Dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

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