I am going to split this series into a few parts, firstly for me to digest, review and help me obtain a new perspective to write the next few chapters. Secondly, I find myself challenging what the difference is between what I believe a Dad, a good Dad and what a great Dad actually is.
Formulating this piece to be as truthful and as unbiased as it can be, I am looking at my childhood, my friend’s Dads, my family who have become Dads and my own personal experience as a Dad…..god help you all and let’s see where this takes us….
Firstly I am sincerely perplexed by the various ways people determine who is ‘just a Dad’, a good Dad and a great Dad. The list I am about to write comes from conversations with other ladies and gents , some who have kids, some who don’t, different age groups, cultures, socioeconomics, as well as forums, blogs and even overhearing strangers talking in the supermarket aisle.
The ‘types’ of Dads that have been mentioned are:
The Gay Dad
The Lazy Dad
The Strict Dad
The Hippy Dad
The Drugs Dad
The Angry Dad
The Super Dad
The Dumb Dad
The Violent Dad
The Sporty Dad
The Loving Dad
The Absent Dad
The Country Dad
The Carefree Dad
The Multiples Dad
The Business Dad
The Alcoholic Dad
The Cautious Dad
The Deadbeat Dad
The Depressed Dad
The Unbalanced Dad
The Emotionless Dad
The Money Hungry Dad
and the list goes on……
I’m feeling slightly schizophrenic already……
So which one am I? Why do I need a label as a Dad? Can’t I just be a ‘DAD’?
Firstly I am going to deal with the ugly side of some Dads. These, to me anyway, are very obvious. These are the guys I don’t believe have the right to be called a Dad and for obvious reasons. These are the Father of children, not Dads…
Any of the following puts them straight in to this classification.
Pedophilia, Domestic Violence, Drugs and Alcohol abuse and narcissistic men. These are the guys that are the ones who cannot care for a child without the child coming to harm, for obvious reasons. The obvious exception is the narcissistic guy who try’s to look like a good dad for the attention but has no actual connection. When things go bad in a relationship, these are the ones that will stop at nothing in an attempt to gain power and control over his ex partner and in the process hurt a child’s development…in other words, a complete and utter asshole.
To me, rule number one is always a child’s safety & well-being.
This said and done, I’m not going to go into great detail on this as it is a subject all of its own for another time…
As for my own experience, I had a Dad that was from a time where generation gap was like saying I’m from Mars and don’t understand you. Did he love me? Absolutely, but did he understand me is another story. Anything outside of his scope of understanding was just plain foreign to him. Music, the advent of technology (in the early 80’s) was just ‘fandangled technology’ and he was after all a country man at heart. It was hard being the eldest and feeling like a disappointment because I had interests that he couldn’t connect with me on. His expectations on me were never lived up too and that in its own sense made me feel lost for quite a number of years.
My Dad was a great Dad in his own sense but he was never a terrible Dad. Some of what I consider to be my best virtues, were instilled in me by him. Manners, respect and a good work ethic just to name just a few.
So I sit here pondering which way I take this topic. I could just sit here and write about the many and varied types of Dads I have mentioned; yet this would defeat the purpose of the topic itself.
Am I a Good Dad….or a Great Dad?
I know what I have been told that I am, but that is why I am perplexed. What I do for my boys comes from a variety of sources. I take the things I like and modify them to enhance our boys lives. Simple things like lots of photos, writing them letters for a far in the future date, you know, the sentimental things. Memories mixed with a little, but often, magic of doing small things that accumulate to big picture things down the road.
In part, this is due to my Dad passing away four days after my 21st and becoming an older Dad at 43, I don’t know when my time will come, so I want my boys to know what them meant to us ‘if’ anything should befall me before what I would consider to be a ripe old age.
Most people have a bucket list when they get older, me….well I have what I’d call an ‘Encouragement List’… more of what I hope will become a legacy for my boys. Something they can look upon and know who I was and what they mean to us. Something, if they so choose, to pay it forward to their children. It’s all about helping them becoming better men, living life and chasing their dreams.
An innate part of what we do is because of what we are. Some of us are sensitive, romantic and maternal out of instinct. Others are sporty, healthy and into life and adrenalin. Some of us Dads just feel clueless, yet intellectual and refined.
Diversity, experience, passions and wisdom seem to play the biggest role for me in my approach. But does that make me a good Dad or a Great Dad?
Suddenly I feel the ‘melting pot’ before me has just become totally inadequate in the size…. I wonder why…?
To be continued…..