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Dear Dads of the World,
For everyone that has joined me in this journey of creating this blog, I believe that you all have seen my passion for talking about fatherhood and providing parenting tips. Fatherhood is a beautiful thing. Us dads fulfill a role that cannot be duplicated for our children. Our children look up to us and love us unconditionally from the moment they set their eyes on us. There is no other feeling that I believe is greater than the love I receive from my child.
However, there are stereotypes about us dads and our roles in our families. Some might depict us as aloof and intimidated by the mere sight of an infant. Others might perceive us as disinterested in “meddling” with the daily tasks of our child’s lives unless it involves something “manly” to do. Another stereotype is the fact men might not want to step up and go to any doctor’s appointments or parent teacher’s conferences. Lastly, some people believe a man has some sort of freedom to just “walk away” from their child without consequence.
Do you want to know what I say to those stereotypes? I call those stereotypes bullcrap. I am not saying that there aren’t men out there who live up to the billing but it is important to recognize that many of us aren’t subscribing to that belief system. Men are not perfect nor should their be an expectation.
However, I want to use this post as a roll call for us men to say enough is enough. There are MANY men who take an active interest in their children’s lives. Us men need to celebrate what we bring to our families. Be proud of the fact that we bring a unique perspective to a family unit. Let’s highlight another dad who goes to all of his children’s recital. Even Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stated he would fire one of his coaches if he misses out on his child’s activities. He recognizes the importance of those moments since they are fleeting. We have to remember we only get so many chances before our little ones become adults.
If you are a man that has not stepped up in the past, just know it is never too late. Can you take a guess when the right moment is to step up and be a father? That moment is now. I want to empower you to do the right thing and be there for your children. It can be hard to overcome that guilt and embarrassment.
For myself, my father wasn’t originally in my life. He didn’t become active in my life until I was 22. Now, I can say that he has built a level of trust and he is active as a grandparent. It takes time but you can do it. I appreciate my father facing his fear of coming to my college graduation and being there to support me. I will acknowledge that was brave of him to do a thing with the rest of my family and friends there knowing he was absent. He could have been a coward and run away from that problem. Instead, he chose to step up and take on the responsibility of being there for me. It is never too late to do the right thing for your child and my father is living proof.
We have such a wonderful privilege of being a father to little ones that enjoy us being in their lives. Please don’t squander that chance of being a dad. One of the greatest bonds a man can have is the one with his children. I challenge all of you who are reading to showcase the men who have been doing this. Our culture puts down men in a number of ways that are unfair. I understand that there are some men who do not handle their responsibilities. Nonetheless, we have a whole host of men who are being lumped in together with those same people.
The best way to combat this cultural stigma is to be active. My challenge to the guys and gals who are reading is to let the man go to that doctor’s appointment. Allow him to be the one who goes to that parent-teacher conference. Take turns or go together to your son’s piano class or your daughter’s play.
Ladies, take some time to put your feet up and let us dads help you out. Once you do this, show him how much you appreciate his efforts. Share with the world how you both are active in parenting. For the fellas, please don’t allow this to be a one time thing you hang your hat on for the next 6 months. Be consistent in your efforts. At the end of the day, it is all about caring for our kids. They will know that we are in their corner if we maintain an active role in their lives.
Cameron is the creator of Supportive Fathers. He created Supportive Fathers as a way to help explore topics other dads encounter in everyday life. Cameron is very passionate about being a father to 2 year old daughter as well as being the husband possible to his wife. To read more of his story, please click here.