Posts Tagged ‘ men ’

The Positive Re-branding of Fatherhood

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Six months.

The Dadabase

Dads need better PR; that’s where I come in…

In popular American culture we are definitely familiar with hearing the term “Supermom;” a phrase which is typically followed by a brief description of itself when it is used in conversation: “She’s Supermom.  She does it all- takes care of the kids, the cleaning, the cooking…”.  But honestly, have you ever heard anyone use the phrase “Superdad”?  My guess is, not until just now.

Why is that?  Well, that’s not a tough question to answer.  But I will answer it by quoting one of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon, from the first chapter of his book, Manhood for Amateurs: “The handy thing about being a father is that the historic standard is set so pitifully low.”  In other words, simply by showing up and “being there,” a man can meet the positive social expectations of being a dad.

Evidently our society is so accustomed to the relatable lyrics of man-bashing songs sung by beautiful young pop singers that part of us begins to believe that most men really are the losers that inspire hopelessly victimized females to post “Men are jerks!” as their Facebook status update.

What I’m not concerned with is what percentage of America’s men really are like the previously mentioned stereotyped villains.  Instead, what is worth focusing our attention on are the real life husbands and fathers who are doing it right. When I think of the men in my own life whom I look up to, including friends, family members, co-workers, and even acquaintances, it’s the unsung heroes of fatherhood who come to mind.  It’s the men who aren’t insane, selfish, abusive, cruel, idiotic, buffoonish, lazy, cheaters, and/or addicts.

The Dadabase

A few weeks ago I was back in Nashville visiting my friend Joe Hendricks, who is expecting his first child with his wife, Rhonda.  As we talked about how our lives are changing by becoming dads, he confirmed one of my preconceived ideas when he said, “I really think dads are making a comeback.  They’re becoming more actively involved in their kids’ lives than they used to be.”

I believe it.  We are reaching a point in history where as a dad, you’re either a hero or a zero- you’re either “all in” or you’re “all out.”  Men are learning to find their identity and their purpose in fatherhood, not despite it.  In fact, it’s actually cool to be an actively involved dad these days.  There are actual social undertones of respect that men receive when it is apparent they sacrifice their own wants and desires for their family.

Is it a coincidence that you are reading a “daddy blog” right now?  Why did Parents.com deem it necessary for a normal dad like myself who holds no impressive psychology degree or dozens of years of counseling experience to craft his paternal thoughts before an enormous audience on a daily basis? Because there is value in positive, relevant, everyday (not mediocre) fatherhood. There is a need for the voice of good dads to be heard.

The Dadabase

If this so called re-branding of fatherhood is to take place, how can we go about making it happen on a large scale?  Do we need to tell men to be better husbands and fathers?  Nope, because that would be A) nagging the ones who need to hear it most and B) preaching to the choir for the rest of the men, who already are good fathers and husbands.

That makes me think of a blog post by Jon Acuff of, Stuff Christians Like, who recounts how most Mother’s Day sermons he’s heard throughout his lifetime do nothing but praise mothers, while Father’s Day sermons typically, in contrast, preach to men to step up to the plate and stop being so selfish.

How do you inspire a man?  Encouragement.  Positive reinforcement.  By positively confirming with him what he is doing right, he will become eager to repeat his good behavior.  No man wants to be a failure, nor does he want to feel nagged.  Especially not a good or decent man.

So as the author of The Dadabase, my focus on deliberately proclaiming this positive re-branding of fatherhood is for the men who are already leading the way.  As for the rest, if they’re cool enough, they’ll catch on and join us.

The Dadabase

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Jack’s First Time to Church

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Week 7.

Something I had always been acutely aware of is that when two people have a baby, there’s a good solid 6 weeks that go by where you stop seeing them in public.  But shortly after that, the couple begins to dare to make random public appearances.  Like last week, we attempted to take Jack with us to buy groceries. Really, there’s no need for me to paint the details of that story; if you can imagine it, that’s what happened.  Therefore, today I went alone to buy groceries.  It took just as long being that I’m a guy and we, the male species, don’t have instincts to tell us things like where to find vanilla extract or even at our own house where the cutting boards go in the kitchen.

But with me still not having a job yet and with the cold winter weather, the three of us have spent a lot of time indoors.  Now I know what it’s like to be a 29 year-old retired millionaire who gets to stay at home all day in his pajamas and eat cereal for lunch.  Minus the million dollars and plus the need to actually make a living.  So after a month of constantly looking online for jobs and applying, and taking care of Jack, and watching random documentaries instantly on Netflix through the Wii, we decided we were brave enough to take Jack to church for the first time; out of the womb.

Of course, despite giving ourselves plenty of time to get there early, Jack decided he wanted one last snack of milk right as we were heading out the door.  Then we had to change his diaper.  So we arrived 10 minutes late and the only place left to sit was up in the balcony.  This turned out to be a pretty good location though; since we were right next to the door for the moment he would inevitably start crying.  He lasted 35 minutes before we had to dart for the door with him.  We were impressed.

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The Importance of a Man’s Shoes

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Twenty-three weeks.

I blame it on my Italian heritage, which trickled down to me throughout my life thanks to my grandfather Metallo; of course, since I grew up in the South, he was simply “Paw Paw”.  I’ve inherited an instinct to incorporate just a little bit of peculiar character in purchased items.  It’s a careful balance of finding items that are slightly flashy and clashing, yet still classy, but not trashy. (Bet you can’t say that phrase five times real fast…)

In this American generation, the idea of a man caring much about his shoes is often considered to be related to gay or metrosexual culture.  But I don’t subscribe to that mentality.  In fact, I believe an important part of being a man is how he dresses; and as everyone should know, his shoes are the most important part of the wardrobe, since they ultimately set the tone for his clothing.

My mindset is more of an old-school class American idea; yet it is still a staple concept of any movie or TV show portraying Italian culture.  From The Godfather movies to The Sopranos, the way an Italian man dresses is well planned out.  Never an accident.  Italians are not slobs.

Paw Paw Metallo

Being that my wife and I both are one quarter Italian, our son Jack will also be one quarter Italian as well.  That means he will not get by with the typical American guy’s shoe collection: a pair of black dress shoes, a brown pair of boots, a pair of running shoes, and a pair of flip flops.  No, not my son.

Jack will be like me.  I own no less than 15 pairs of shoes, some of which are at least 10 years old, yet you would never know it because I take such good care of them.  And while Jack won’t be born for another three months, he already has two pairs of essential “flashy, clashing, and classy yet not trashy” shoes awaiting him.

Last week as my wife and I were registering at Target, we found some shoes on clearance that not only meet the criteria, but also are essentially identical to shoes I already own.  A pair of Kelly green sneakers (6-9 months, in time for Summer) and a pair of white leather loafers (12-18 months, just in time for Christmas).  Like father, like son.

*Jack is still the size of a papaya; no major change in fruit size this week.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Official "baby bump" picture

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