04 February, 2009

Dad's Role

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.   






dadshouse said...

I totally involved in my kids' lives, and I recognize my value in raising them. I felt it early on, before they were born even. There was no way I'd simply let them be raised by their mom. I even would fight my mother in law when she offered to help, and I'd tell her no thanks, I can do it myself (i.e. for changing a diaper, feeding time, whatever)

I don't know why I have been this way, but it's always been there. When I got divorced, I made huge financial sacrifices in order to stay involved in their lives. No way would I just walk away.

I do understand the tempation, and I think how much easier life might be if I made a clean split. But it wouldn't be clean - I'd ache for them.

L said...

I wish more people, in general, got this. We don't need dads to be superheros, we just need them to be there.

Jerod said...

I am a single dad of 4 kids and I can not even imagine my life without mine. I have full custody of 3 and shared with my little one. I think one of the main reasons that men back out has more to do with the fact that they feel pushed out! Most women after a break up or divorce that have the children speak very ill of the Dad and unfortunatly only allow the relationship to continue with the kids if it is on her terms. Several women want to cut the man out because of the painful reminder that they may be, but do very little to actually encourage a healthy relationship with the children. I wish it was different, but time and time again I have heard women say "I wish He was more involved," but the more I dug, I often discover that that what they really mean is they want Him involved when it is easy for her and on her schedule.

Mike said...

Not at all. However most men are so shut off from there emotional side they don't no what they have to offer anyone and even themselves.

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