I read line by line of disappointed children and adult’s tweets about how their father had let them down, taken advantage of them physically, and/or financially, or just completely bailed on them altogether. As a father, this was very disheartening to read. I began to ask myself, “Just when did it become the standard for men to bail on their family and abandon their children? It frustrates me that articles in most national publications I see these days tend to portray how worthless the male of the household is. Fathers, as a whole group, have started to be lumped into this category of “Deadbeat Dads.” As I have started writing my blog and beginning to network with other fathers through social media, @BusyDadBlog, @NashvilleDad, and @Happiestdaddy to name a few, it has been very refreshing to see that there are still fathers out there with a heartbeat for their family! I have included three of the screen shots from what I saw on twitter just to give you an idea if you did not see it for yourself. I have cut out the pictures and any other inappropriate information as I try to keep this blog rated PG-13! But if you are a father out there that is reading this, please take the time to read down through the twitter feed and see what these children had to say about their fathers. What can we as fathers begin to do in order to change the public perception that we are all not guilty of carrying the "deadbeat" title?
While my father definitely had his flaws, I never doubted for one day that I was loved and protected. And while my children see my flaws on daily basis, I try to ensure that they know at all times that I love them and I am proud of them. Are there times I would rather go play a round of golf or just sit and watch a football game rather than go to a dance recital or spend all day at a swim meet? Absolutely, but I also realize that being present in the home as a father is more than going to bed and waking up in the same house as your family. If you look at the last tweet on the second picture this is a perfect example of a father that was absent in his own home. We owe our kids more than just putting a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. It is time to repair this reputation we as men have some how acquired. It is time to take back pride in being a good father and husband. Take a look at your weekly routines, as I have, and see if there is something that you could re-prioritize or change in order to have a more consistent, positive impact on the lives of your children.
Here are a few things I'm going to try:
1. Leave the iPhone at home when we go to the park/zoo/family outing. ( I'm afraid I may experience jitters!)
2. Spend AT LEAST one solid hour with out any video games, movies, computers, iDevices each evening with the kids playing outside or playing a board game together.
3. Myself and my wife schedule one on one time with each child at least once a month. If you have multiple children it can by easy for one to feel like they are lost in the chaos. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or outrageous. My six year old likes to go run in the evening when I get off work and that doesn't cost a dime!