My definition of “father” is very different from most dictionaries. For example, dictionary.com offers this as the first definition, “a male parent.” Okay, from a technical, genetic, standpoint, this is true.
But, we are more than just a grouping of genes. We are social creatures and, as such, are as defined by our social nature as our, biological nature (I really wanted to say, “natural nature,” as it is more fun, but biological nature makes more sense). From a social nature (i.e. a family group) standpoint, a father is much more than that.
To be a father, you have to be involved with your offspring’s life. If you go to the dentist more than you interact with your kids, then you are just a sperm donor. But don’t despair, you can still earn the title, it’s just going to take lots of work.
So what do I mean by “interacting.” It’s quite simple, you spend as much time as you can talking, playing, video chatting, feeding, helping with homework, etc.
Set up a time in you schedule dedicated to your kids. Put it on the calendar and treat it as you would any other business meeting, because these are the most important meetings of your lives.
Do you live on the other side of the world? Set up time(s) each week for a call or video chat. Maybe you can connect remotely and play video games together. There are many options in today’s high tech world.
If you are incarcerated, make sure you save your phone time for your kids. Write them letters. Just stay in contact.
If you have a very bad (non-abusive) relationship with the mother, and she is denying access, legally fight for your rights. Keep in mind, if you are illegally denied access, that is the mother’s fault. If you give up trying to be a part of your kids’ lives, that is yours.
If you can only spend a little bit of time with your kids, that is infinitely better than not spending any at all. Throughout the history of humankind, no child, in a non-abusive relationship, has ever said, “I wish I had spent less time with my father.”