This is Father’s Day weekend. Dads everywhere will relax, cook out, and generally enjoy the attention lauded upon them by their family. These days families are more likely than not to include a couple of dads and, sometimes multiple moms! WOW! That’s going to mean a lot more hot dogs and burgers to put on the grill! The “Blended Family” seems to have become the norm. In addition it’s become more and more “normal” for a Grandparent to raise a child.
It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but while our lives ARE indeed filled with many individuals who help to form who we become, the best village for a child is his or her own family. Unfortunately due to joblessness and poverty, the pop culture attitude and a misunderstanding of what it is to be “in love” (i.e. most think of love as passion, butterflies in the stomach, euphoria…lust), we find ourselves trying to cope with the results…..the disintegrating American family.
There are numerous programs and agencies that try to help “fix” the family, but what about attacking the root problem? We first have to realize the problem, which is difficult to do when everywhere around us we see people just like us….in a blended family trying to make it work. It seems normal and it’s easy to pat each other on the back and say, “yup, things are tough for us blended families. Guess we just have to muddle through the best we can.”. In addition, some moms today even CHOOSE to have a family with NO dad in the picture!
We are now 1 or 2 generations into this single parent, no dad/multiple dad, culture. Often even when there IS a dad in the family, he hasn’t had the model of what a good father is, so he tries his best and without that solid ground to stand on, things begin to fail. The “love” of wife fades, work becomes harder and draining, the family starts to become something that he sees as holding him back. Anyway, the TV, internet, circle of friends, all say “don’t be so old fashioned” and “family is what you make it” and “….as long as YOU’RE happy”. Of course there are those who make the whole thing work just fine. The children grow up and become well adjusted citizens, the dad and step-dad become friends or at least don’t hate each other. I think those situations, are rare.
We dads and dads to be, have the ability to make choices today. Choices which can turn the tide of the disintegration of the family and, as a result, society in general. We can choose, every day, to watch TV or play a family game or go for a walk together. We can blow up and yell and stomp our feet….or worse when things start piling up, or we can open up and talk to a friend, or wife. We can understand that our fatherhood is not just a title, but our duty of state. Fatherhood is not just who we are but what we do. Being dad means sacrifice, honor, leadership, respect, bewilderment, over-the -top happiness AND heartbreaking pain. The example we set by how we live our daily life and deal with all the things being a dad brings, is how we can begin to turn the tide and raise generations of men and women who will go on to lead their own solid family.