One of the saddest things I hear from men is that they do not believe that they have anything to offer their kids – that their kids will be just fine without having a dad or without the dad in their lives.
Not only is this, in many cases, totally and utterly ridiculous, but it is beyond sad that a man, any man, would not recognize all that he has to give his kids – all that they have to give him.
I wonder though, how many men feel this way?
I am aware of various men who have walked away from their kids lives following a divorce. They still love their kids, but… well, life goes on, right? I know other men who have worked hard to remain a living and steady part of their kids lives – so it goes both ways.
A friend of mine noted that now that he and his family are back in the US, his job prevents him from spending as much time with his kids. If it isn’t work, it is taking care of the house and other associated work. When he lived abroad, he didn’t have the house or the same responsibilities. He was able to spend more time with his kids.
Generally speaking, why is it that men don’t feel that they have anything to give their kids? Is it because they saw their own mothers raising them largely without the participation of their fathers? Is it because we place more emphasis on the role of the mother in the family over the role of the father from a non-financial stand point? Perhaps we, as women (generally speaking) have marginalized the role of the “dad” in the family? The truth is that women can do it all themselves anymore. We can provide, protect, have kids by choice, and run a family single handedly… but we can not (and this is something I know from first hand experience) be a dad.
I think of how much my dad contributed and continues to contribute to who I am and who my brother is. My family would not have been the same without him.
When I interviewed my daughter the other day, she listed her dad as one of her role models. Her dad who doesn’t live with us.
Granted, some women are not great moms and some men aren’t great dads – we all have vastly different experiences with our parents, but in general, does a man bring something to the family, to his kids, that women can’t replicate?
Do men need to recognize their own value to their kids and the family? Do women need to step back and recognize that, as amazing as we are in the 21st century, we can not be everything to our kids? And how do we get society to change; to appreciate the role of the man in the 21st century? We don’t need him to be the bread winner or the protector or to take care of our homes and our land as we once did, but we do need men and all they have to offer our kids. We need men to recognize their value just as we need society, the courts, and women to see and appreciate that there is more to a man than one might believe.