(Advice For The Something Less Than 24/7 Dad)
By: JC Rubi
Some of my friends find it odd, but I subscribe to MANY websites, blogs, facebook pages, etc that have to do with “mom tips”. I follow several coupon pages, craft pages, even one called “Women Get It Free” (don’t worry it is about coupons & deals – it is admonishing women to “get it free” rather than pay full price for items). One website I have followed since it was founded is www.247moms.com as it is insightful about the challenges of parenting and sharing your faith with the next generation.
Why do I mention this..? Because, men, the stuff put out there for us is quite frankly WEAK..!! For some reason the idea of being a “24/7 Dad” doesn’t quite resonate. It is even worse if you’re looking for parenting information about a dad’s perspective in a divorced or blended home. Have you noticed you never hear anybody talking about “single dads” and how hard it is to make a meaningful contribution to your children?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to take anything away from single moms. I am amazed at how some mothers juggle at least 40 hours of work, 10 hour of volunteering at school or church, meaningful friendships with other women/moms, an active dating life, PLUS the 168 hour weekly schedule of being a mom. What I am saying is that for every “single mom” out there in the world, there is a dad.
So before you give up on this article and move on to the next story about decoupage ideas for your preschooler, I will agree with you that there are in fact SOME dads out there that I would say are deadbeats. However, for the most part, I think they get a bum rap. From my wholly unscientific survey of the single-dads that I know, I find that most of them would like to “do right” for their children – even if they couldn’t keep their marriage to mom together. For whatever reason (and this isn’t the place to assign fault/guilt) it didn’t work out, and now they have to focus on how to make the best of the situation, understand the proper priorities, adjust to the changed responsibilities, and most importantly LOVE THESE CHILDREN.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I too am a “single-dad”. Some days I don’t quite understand how I got here, and we can debate for days how I might be disqualified to give advice for having failed at one of the most basic things of parenting, but nevertheless we are here and I am first & foremost A DAD. It is, and has always been, my central theme to be a dad that strives to be like Christ. However, I never imagined that I would be modeling Christ on a “part-time” basis – and then it hit me. I’m not modeling Christ on a part-time basis..!! The reality is that most dads aren’t there full-time. Even married dads are off working most of the day to provide the best home they can. As dads we provide leadership, guidance, and then usually direct-involvement on a smaller scale. Regardless whether the court says you have custody 30%, 50%, or you are with your children every day, you are still required by God and Scripture to properly train up our children in the way they should go – that hasn’t changed…
So, taking a step back – YES there are some deadbeat dads out there. Wouldn’t you like for them to do better..? More importantly, there are a lot of single-dads out there trying to figure out how to navigate this new reality. And, there are some like me – guys that are a dad FIRST and truly want to minister to their children’s needs but aren’t physically there every day. I’m not saying I’m better than the next dad, I’m just saying that I have sorted out my priorities and seek to be the best dad I can, regardless of the situation or my own weaknesses/failures. My hope and prayer for these regular postings is that regardless of how we got here, that we as men will become better single-dads (from the deadbeat to the guy who’s got it all together and for every guy inbetween). So as we embark on this journey to be MORE than a “Disneyland Dad”, I leave you with a question and a challenge that will be central to these posts, “How Can We Do Better..?”