Sunday, October 3, 2010
The Renewal of a Father (and the Death of Customer Service)
Anyway, I’m not going to allow abysmal airline policy ruin my terrific mood. I had such a fantastic weekend with the at home dads. We had two fabulous keynote speakers: psychologist, Dr. Bowers from the famous Boys Town facility and the incomparable trailblazer and author of rebeldad.com, Brian Reid. Dr. Bowers shared some valuable insights into the way our children think and offered some great parenting strategies; Brian got us up to speed on the various ways census and others try and refine the definition of an at home dad. This is why you can find verifying reports on the number of American AHDs, ranging from 158,000 to four million.
The weekend was great for so many reasons: hearing the way other men parent their kids, shooting the manure about everything and anything, and simply being with a group of like minded men who truly “get it” when it comes to being a parent.
I thought often about the life of an at home dad vs. the life of a loving, caring father who is working 60 hours a week. In my workshops with working dads, they so often feel torn between wanting to spend way more time with their kids and providing for them by working such long hours. I realized that these men get out of the rat race cold turkey. Once they are at home full time, their roles are much more clearly defined. These men, unlike the working dads I meet, aren’t torn at all. When they transition back into the workforce (as most usually do) I trust these men will carry the torch of fatherhood to their respective workplaces, and help raise the profile the woefully neglected needs of the working father.
The other thing I loved about this weekend is that it solidified my own philosophy in raising my sons—namely that they grow up knowing that they are loved unconditionally. That doesn’t mean they get hugs and kisses for setting the sofa on fire, it just means that they know they are loved just for being themselves-- just for being born. That way, they don’t spend a lifetime looking backwards wondering, “What do I need to do to get the love and approval of my dad?” They already have it---in spades.