Friday, January 28, 2011

Bad dads piss me off

There I said it.

My father died when I was very young shortly after my mother and father had divorced. As hard as I have tried, I have no memories of my father and I do not recall my mother ever sharing stories with me as a child about the kind of man he was.

One of the very few pictures
of me with my dad.
That is my back
Growing up a fatherless boy in a single parent household had a tremendous impact on my youth. It did not help that I was overweight, awkward and very shy. Not having a father became a focus to everything I perceived as wrong in my life. I just knew if I had a dad around he would be teaching me everything I wanted to be and was not. I would know how to be athletic, fix things, be thin, talk to girls, be smart, make friends, and more. Eventually when I was in 8th grade my mother remarried but unfortunately the man that became my stepfather and I never connected.

Fast forward to August 19th 1997. On this day I became a father. I will admit that I was terrified about being a dad to a son. What kind of dad would I be given that I had no positive example to follow? The moment when I held him in my arms the first time all my fear went away and I committed to do everything I could to be the dad to Conner that I had fantasized for my own as a child.

Fast forward to May of 1998. That was the moment when I learned I had cancer and my chances of living beyond even a few months were very slim. Suddenly the prospect of a fatherless childhood became a reality for my own son. Would he now have to suffer through the same kind of childhood that was my memory?

Now here is the pissed off part---

With this background, it breaks my heart to see dads that do not appreciate the awesome responsibility and joy of fatherhood. Dads that neglect their child through lack of time with them or lack of effort need to realize what they are doing. They are impacting a child that could carry this pain forward to future generations. The truth is that most boys will grow to father the only way they know how through your example.

I am fortunate that my past experience created a passion to help mentor boys through Scouting and to encourage dads any way I can.

Now is your time to change or to help another dad discover the best in himself. I have made in the past and will make in the future many mistakes as a father. However, to my core I will never stop learning and trying to be the best father I can possibly be.

Dads---you too can reach your fathering potential. Learn, grow and strive to be more.

Don’t piss me off

1 comment:

  1. Thanks SuperDave for the wisdom. It's is really the most important work we do, being responsible for the development of other humans. Walking that balance between controlling and encouraging, knowing when to help and when not to.

    It takes life experiences like yours to bring priorities into focus. Its interesting that the great religions of the world all agree that suffering/hardship brings enlightenment. Suffering sucks - I wish there was an easier way, but is it a gift. How do we create the same perspective in those that have not had your experience??

    TS Eliot captured this -
    “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.”
    I think wisdom shared and accepted is the only way to "know the the place" when you see it the first time.... thanks for sharing and spreading the good news.