In my mission to help men be happier healthier human beings, I especially have my sights set on fathers. Fatherhood is a deep thing. A father’s love and a father’s wisdom is so important for a family – and not just the kids. The whole family needs a strong, wise, awake father. But how do we fathers get there?
I have to be honest, when I found out that I was going to be a father – especially the father to a son – I was scared shitless. My old man didn’t really teach me how to be a father. He was pretty checked-out, either drunk or at the office. And I didn’t really grow up with other good examples of fathering. I saw lots of bad examples. My fear of fathering came from a combination of lack of know-how and a strong sense of the importance of the task. My love for my child – unborn at the time – was so intense, so profound, and I didn’t want to give him a raw deal. More than anything I ever wanted, I wanted to be a good dad.
So I put myself into training. The first thing I did was to reach out. Not to my dad – he was long since dead. I reached out to the good men in my life. I reached out to my male mentors and fathers that I respected. I started a conversation and got them into my “team” of men that I could rely on for support. And I started doing some serious self-inquiry. The basic question was “How do I get my shit together to prepare for this gig?” It took some deep soul searching. It took some digging – I needed to unearth some of the cruddy old assumptions I had about fatherhood and family. I needed to really look deeply at the way my dad fathered me – to find the good stuff as well as the bad. I needed to really put myself in my dad’s shoes and try to understand the forces he was dealing with and learn to have empathy and compassion for him.
The other thing I needed to do was create a potent vision for my fatherhood. What kind of father do I want to be? What kind of man do I need to be to be the strong wise father in my family? Where do I want the family to be in 5 years? 10 years? Hows my body? What kind of health do I need to have to love hard and live true as a dad for 20+ years? The point is, I needed to seriously give a fuck.
I am committed to giving a fuck in my life and also helping others to give a fuck about theirs. I am asking everyone this Father’s Day to give a fuck about dads. We have given up on them to a large extent. They are the butts of our jokes, they are seen as clowns or “lovable insignificants.” The absent fathers have made their mark on our world – just look at any American ghetto. It seems the fathers don’t give a fuck there and no one gives a fuck about the fathers. It goes both ways – this giving a fuck thing. On our side we need to care. But on the side of society – society needs to hold us to a higher standard. We need to acknowledge the dads that are doing it well and really demand that the others get their heads out of their asses. This Father’s Day instead of giving golf clubs, send him to our Men’s Weekend May 29-31. Weekends like this are a good start for men to really look at themselves.
Women are strong these days. And they have many resources to bolster their knowledge and wisdom and inner strength. When these strong women are partnered with weaker men – they will pick up the slack. But when that happens, we lose a little something. It’s not that we shouldn’t let mothers do their thing – of course we totally should. But we should learn how, as men, to rise up and do our thing magnificently. That should be our standard – magnificence. At least this should be our standard of effort. Being a dad is no easy thing. But if we choose to take on that role – we owe it to our kids, to our world to man up, give a fuck, and do our absolute damnedest to be the best fathers we can possibly be. Slack off on anything else. Don’t slack off on this.