June 4, 2013
Like many parents I am no expert in parenting. There is no manual that comes with the title: "Dad". With Father's Day coming up- I did some reflecting recently on what it means to be a dad. I have been fortunate in receiving the blessing of having a great dad and good role model. I've taken the things I saw my dad do well for us and have tried hard to improve upon them with my own daughters. Sometimes with good outcomes, other times- not so much.
We have heard the cliche's: " Any male can father a child, it takes a real man to be a father" or "The difference between a biological parent and a father is the time you commit". There are many others I am sure. I like the later because it strikes at the core of some of the problems I see at all ends of the economic spectrum-Time. In poor communities, either for lack of education, finances (perhaps a need to provide) and other reasons- there may not be the time put into properly mentoring young boys or girls. There are alot of programs for at-risk youth-but have you ever noticed that in spite of this - at-risk youth still exist? In wealthier communities, money is showered on children, perhaps to make up for the self-absorption of their parents and because the means exist. You still see the same degree of dysfunction- its just that mom and dad's money might be able to correct any issues that come up. At both ends- money is thrown at the problem either through government funded programs or the wealthy parents. Neither hits the mark as the main thing is attention , love and caring. You can buy that and you surely can't fund that through a poorly administered program with no accountability.
It's sad that we live in a hyper-sexual world where there seems to be an empowering of one gender at the expense of another. That seems to be the mantra these days-I win- you lose in everything. As a parent, I worry about what this is teaching our kids. You really want to just unplug the 24/7 media and their droning. Makes you long for the simpler times of black and white TV, getting your news via the paper and kids being kids. I guess for that to happen, adults need to parent and focus on the main thing.