Skip to main content

Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

A daddy isn’t defined as the man who makes the child, but rather a man who extends his hands and time to help with the child’s raising and his heart to love the child through anything!!!!

Blood doesn’t make you a father. Being a daddy comes from the heart…any fool can make a baby, it takes a man to raise the child. “Blood” does in fact qualify the individual as being the ‘”daddy” by definition, however does nothing more. I think sometimes when fathers don’t meet the expectations of certain people, they use words like this to bring us down. You can prove to be a good father by participating daily in each and every decision/step of their lives.

The fact remains, it’s a life-changing moment when you discover you are going to be a parent. Equally profound is when you learn you never really were. Thus the question is, what makes a father? DNA? Devotion? How would you feel about your children — and yourself — if you were to discover they were not really “yours”?

I cannot fully define a father, but Dad taught me how to pick one out of a crowd of men. It would be better if I had a definition of Fatherhood to avoid tricky mistakes, but Dad’s example is at least a start.

Dad knows. Dad is a leader and so he values ideas. He is always reading and trying new things, but like any person, it isn’t his store of facts that makes him a great dad. Dad uses what he learns to make a wonderful life. Dad values people over stuff and us over people. Dads experience the practical wisdom of common folks and never ignore anybody. Not once did Dad ever pressure us to succeed, make money, or become famous.

I never saw Dad do a single thing to make money at the expense of character or another person. Dad tells the truth, they rally do!! He will not promise much, but if he promises, then he will die or do it. He is a man of his word and that is a rare thing. Dad’s love is safe. It was better and safer to face his wrath than most people’s affections.

I did not know how rare it is to have a Dad who never hit us in anger or abused us in any way. Dad never abdicated his position by using it to do lasting harm. I took it for granted as a kid, but decades of life have taught me better. Dad is decent and kind. He gets angry and is imperfect, but he never crosses the line. Dad’s love was limited and appropriate. Dad is loyal, but nobody’s fool.

God can love without limits, but human roles are more limited. Dad did not try to love us unconditionally as a Dad. We knew there were limits to his role and to his authority, but also that if we chose to live in a pig sty, he would not follow us there.

Read: The Roots of One of My Heroes are in the Ballad of Hua Mulan

Dad as a Christian would always love and pray for us, but Dad as Dad would let us go. He let his role change, even diminish, over time and he drew clear lines for us. We knew that we could leave Father’s house and he would let us go. We knew he would let us return, but only if we left the pig sty. Dad made it clear he was finite and not infinite. More than anything else that pointed me to God. God was like Dad, but more so! Dad is good, but repents openly when he is not. Dads are no shock. They have gotten better. Dad is a better man today than he was when I was a kid.

Dad is in transition. It is a family joke that when asked about his life Dad can honestly say, “I am in transition.” This is true, because Dad never quits pursuing God.Dad is Bilbo like in his knowledge that the road goes ever on. Maybe I can propose a definition for fatherhood after all. A true father is the man who best images the masculine aspects of the love of God and then points his children to Him.Thanks Dad!!

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.


Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

Close Menu


Growing Up Aimi Series