Posts Tagged ‘ father ’

You Can’t Choose Your Parents

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

In this very moment, here is exactly what’s going through my mind:

You really do have a weird man for a dad.

I realize that’s nothing I need to apologize for. After all, my quirkiness and passionate beliefs are what attracted Mommy to me in the first place.

So ultimately, you are here today because I’m not so normal of an American man.

We’ll make this thing work, though. You’ll turn out fine.

It’s just that I have a feeling as you get older, your friends will all be aware that your dad is… a bit on the eccentric side.

You’ll be the kid with the dad who doesn’t eat meat, doesn’t use any products that contain sodium laurel sulphate, doesn’t use microwaves, doesn’t pay for cable or smart phones, and doesn’t believe in using credit cards.

I’ll be that Libertarian, yet law-abiding; conservative, yet open-minded; Generation Y father who happens to live on the outside of what is often mainstream.

To be honest, I only recently realized how off-beat a demographic I am a part of. As I look back through the letters I’ve written you, I see that often my worldview does not necessarily reflect that of the majority.

So the question is, how will that affect you?

Am I brainwashing you? Probably a little bit. However, I don’t see how I’m brainwashing you any more than any other parent out there.

That’s one of the scary parts about being a parent. As your dad, I greatly influence your worldview, whether I mean to or not.

You can’t choose your parents. I’m the one you ended up with, though.

Whether it’s for better or for worse, I take pride in showing you my version of how the world works and/or how it should work.

Ultimately, what I want for you isn’t any different than what I assume any parent wants for their child:

I want you to know you are loved, you are special, and you are wanted. I want you to be confident in yourself, strong in your beliefs, and caring to others.

Maybe I’m not that weird of a dad after all…

 

Love,

Daddy

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Daddymoons, Manshowers, and Dadchelor Parties: Clever Or Lame?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

22 months.

To answer my own question: Lame.

Part of my agenda as the daddy blogger for a major parenting website is to positively re-brand fatherhood; to reinforce the fact that a dad changing his kid’s diaper is not ironic at all and that taking care of his own kid without Mommy around is not babysitting… it’s a man taking care of his own kid.

That’s the world we live in and that’s the generation I’m a part of.

Needless to say, I am not cool with the cartoonish concept of a soon-to-be dad having a drunken party (or the likeness thereof) with his buddies to celebrate his final days of freedom before he inevitably says goodbye to his sex life and his ability to watch football games on his 56 inch TV without being interrupted by his crying infant or nagging wife, which therefore makes his life a 1980′s sitcom hell.

Just to be sure that I’m not exaggerating what Dadchelor Parties are all about, an article on The Huffington Post describes them as an event “where men bring diapers in exchange for beer, while others are more extravagant and involve all day bar-hopping or even a destination weekend. All seem to involve drinking, sporting events, gambling, and more drinking.”

Cute.

Okay, okay, but what about the non-drunken version of a Dadchelor Party?

What’s wrong with a soon-to-be dad hanging out with a couple of friends to share some beers and smoke some cigars in an effort to invite the days of fatherhood in a more sophisticated fashion?

Well, I guess I don’t have too big of a problem with that, except for the simple fact I don’t know anyone in my version of the real world who would think that’s cool; especially when attached with the phrase Dadchelor Party, Daddymoon, or Manshower.

I have a feeling that my own friends would actually think that having a “Manshower” is not only tacky, but also, uh…

Manshower? Come on, need I say more?

So what am I offering as a legitimate and respectable alternative? I say the kind of man who I would consider cool enough to be my friend would leave me out of the equation all together and instead take his wife on a babymoon.

The phrase “babymoon” is uber trendy, and therefore annoying, and is not a word I will ever speak aloud, but the concept of taking your pregnant wife on a getaway trip before the baby comes is righteous.

My wife and I went on [one of those] before our son was born an then we went on another one about 6 months after he was born.

It’s a good thing; especially for husbands and expecting fathers who, you know, are A) actually responsible adults B) who respect their wives and C) can understand that having a good time doesn’t need to require a hangover afterwards.

But for those soon-to-be dads who would rather flirt with 20 year-old waitresses at bars all weekend while getting “plastered,” and then brag about it the next week on Facebook, all in the name of a Dadchelor Party, you’ve lost your man card.

Let me know if you ever want it back.

 

Image: Let’s go party, via Shutterstock.

 

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The Importance Of A Boy Owning A Fire Engine Truck

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

22 months.

My wife and I joke about the fact we hardly ever by our son any new toys.

He has six caddies full of toys that mainly consist of gifts A) from his birthday party nearly a year ago and B) from when he was first born nearly two years ago.

Between his regular daycare and his church daycare and his friends’ toys when he has play dates, Jack has daily access to several toy communities.

For the past couple of months now, Jack has had the same amount of love in his heart for fire trucks as Elmo, which is saying a lot.

The flames of his fascination are flamed even more every day at his daycare, which happens to be located right across the street from the local fire station.

Jack can do a pretty incredible impression of a fire truck by now.

I’ll be driving him home and from the back seat I’ll  hear, “Wwwwhheeeaaahhhllllwwwhhh!”

(Yes, that’s the official spelling of the sound of a fire engine.)

However, it was only just today that we finally got him his very own fire truck. You’d think it be pretty easy to find a Matchbox or Hot Wheels fire truck, but no…

Either you pay at least 7 bucks for a goofy, cartoonish-looking one, or you pay at least $25 for a giant fire truck that your son wouldn’t be able to carry around with him everywhere he goes.

Well fortunately, we were able to find the right sized and the right priced fire engine truck today at Walmart. It’s made by a brand called Maisto and the thing only cost 72 cents!

Now granted, Jack’s new fire truck is also unintentionally (?) a lowrider. And it could also pass for some weird tank thing if the ladder were a canon instead.

But hey, Jack couldn’t be more excited! All he knows is, he finally has his very own fire truck.

He is so proud of it.

When he got home, he lined it up as the leader of a parade consisting of his two Thomas the Train cars and two of my old Stomper cars from McDonald’s Happy Meals back in 1985.

Oh, and a horse and a goat. They were also part of the joyous celebration.

With Jack’s 2nd birthday coming up on November 16th, I know my parents have already hinted that they got him a real fire truck toy.

I imagine it is the kind he can roll around on the floor with the big Tonka truck they got Jack for his birthday last year.

He will be so excited to get it, too; I’m sure of it.

Something he’s been doing here recently is when he has both a small and large version of toy, one becomes the baby and the other becomes the Dada.

In other words, today we bought Jack his “baby fire truck.” His “Dada fire truck” will be arriving within the next 60 days.

 

 

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President Obama’s “Strong Fathers, Strong Families” Initiative

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Seven months.

The Dadabase

Recently in my post entitled, “The Positive Re-branding of Fatherhood,” I noted that dads are making a comeback and becoming more involved in their kids’ lives.  Call it a trend, call it a movement; I call it a necessary revolution: Men are changing the future of society now by priding themselves in not settling for mediocre fatherhood, but instead, awesome fatherhood.  And maybe even one day the term “Superdad” will actually be as familiar as “Supermom.”

In fact, I was pleasantly unsurprised to read today in another blog here on Parents.com about a recent poll showing that, compared to 50 years ago, fathers are indeed more involved in the lives of their children.  Granted, these days there are less households where the dad actually lives in the same household as his kids.  But for the dads who do dwell with their kids, these dads are definitely more active compared to 50 years ago.

So it’s not all in my head!  Dads really are making a comeback.  What a cool time to be a dad.  This is what The Dadabase is all about.

President Obama Strong Fathers Strong Families

Today, I want to brag on President Barack Obama.  Last week he introduced a new initiative called “Strong Fathers, Strong Families,” which is a program that provides ways for fathers to spend quality time with their children, via free or discounted pricing on fun activities, such as bowling, sports games, and zoos.

In his recent essay, “Being the Father I Never Had,” he openly recognized the fact that despite the heroism of single moms who have raised a large portion of recent generations, the presence of an active father is valuable to the well-being and future of today’s children:

“And even though my sister and I were lucky enough to be raised by a wonderful mother and caring grandparents, I always felt [my father’s] absence and wondered what it would have been like if he had been a greater presence in my life. I still do. It is perhaps for this reason that fatherhood is so important to me, and why I’ve tried so hard to be there for my own children.” –President Barack Obama

For a guy like me whose active campaign and passionate mission is to positively re-brand fatherhood through this blog on Parents.com, I can’t help but feel strong admiration for our President in his public support for the “Strong Fathers, Strong Families.”  I tip my hat to Mr. Obama for using his voice for an idea so necessary and positive for the good of our country.

The Dadabase

I believe that it has become easy and normal to downplay the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. Because we as a society have learned to, in order to survive and move forward.  But I don’t want our American society to simply survive; I want it to thrive.  And even just the name of President Obama’s initiative itself spells it out pretty clearly: A strong father will lead and grow a strong family.

President Obama is not only taking action in sharing my same passion for parenting; but also just like I am doing, he is using his public platform to openly support active fatherhood.  I get it, not every child has the option of being raised by a good man. Many children have selfish, abusive, and/or absent biological fathers; some who have left by choice while others were good men but have unfortunately passed away.

Still, children need a positive adult male role model to fill that void, whether it’s an uncle, family friend, step-dad, a pastor, or neighbor.  It’s not okay that kids are growing up without good dads. Nor is it okay to deny the need or importance of a positive adult male role model in a child’s life.

Dads matter.

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Won’t Ever Be Lonely

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Week 6.

Maybe somewhat surprisingly, I am a proud Country music fan- though I’m ultimately a Dave Matthews Band/Guster/John Mayer/Bruce Springsteen/Tom Petty kind of guy.

In the past few weeks, in the midst of leaving our lives behind in Nashville and entering uncertainty and a current status of “in between jobs” in Alabama, not having much to do but constantly search for jobs and take care of our baby, the lyrics to a Country song by Andy Griggs from 1999 keep coming to my mind: “I promise you now, you won’t ever be lonely.”

Though the song is obviously written from the perspective of a man in love with a woman, looking forward to spending the rest of his life with her, the lyrics now speak to me in a different way:

“You’re safe from the world wrapped in my arms and I’ll never let go.  Baby, here’s where it starts and I promise you now you won’t ever be lonely. Here’s a shoulder you can cry on and a love you can rely on.  For as long as I live 

there will always be a place you belong.”

But while the words to this song obviously make perfect sense in the perspective of me speaking to my child, they actually are more relevant to me in this mindset: I won’t ever be lonely.  Not just him.  But I won’t ever be lonely.

I am better able to understand now why there are so many pregnant teenagers and why MTV’s 16 and Pregnant is such a popular show- because so many kids today are lonely.

(I am under the crazy notion that a good number of pregnant teens and extremely young parents are not getting pregnant simply because of the careless lack of birth control, but instead because they subconsciously want to be have a baby in a attempt to be loved by someone.)

So many daughters have never been told by their fathers that they are beautiful. So many sons have never heard their father tell them “I’m proud of you”.   Having a baby definitely changes the lonely factor in many ways.  Even if the 19 year-old father who works for minimum wage at the oil change place bales on her soon after the baby is born- at least that young mother will always have someone depending on her.

Granted, I haven’t been lonely in a long time.  But I can easily remember it.  It can be painful; literally.  Last week I watched a National Geographic documentary on solitary confinement where I learned that loneliness is processed in the same part of the brain as pain.  I can easily remember being 20 years old, feeling lost, out of place, an unmatched. I wondered for the next five years if I would be like the actor who played Mr. Belvedere, who never married or had children his whole life. But at age 25, my wife and I met each other and those heavy and desperate thoughts of loneliness haven’t entered my mind in over four years.

Now at age 29, I am the opposite of lonely.  I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful and hilarious baby son that I will always matter to.  And I have a feeling that the older our son Jack gets, the more attention and energy of mine that he will require.  At least until he reaches 7th grade and gets too cool for me.

 


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