Sunday, June 17, 2012

All He Wants To Do Is Watch TV

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As I was picking up some groceries the other day, I stopped to get a Father's Day card. I looked through the card section a bit and started noticing a disturbing trend in card themes. It seemed like the majority of cards characterized dads in the same way: he likes to sit around, be lazy, and watch TV or play golf. As a dad myself, I was pretty insulted. My sister-in-law recently touched on this in a blog post where she states that if the cards characterized mothers this way, there would be an outrage. I think she's probably right.

Now, I know all of the statistics on fathers in America and how they are often deadbeats, getting women pregnant then leaving them to raise the children as single parents. I know that a father's impact on the development of his children is profound beyond belief and that his participation in their lives reduces their risk of all kinds of horrible, negative traits. I also know that dads often spend more of their time, energy, focus, effort, and dreams on their work, money, toys/tools, and hobbies than with their spouse, family, and in their church.

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If this is the reality in our country, then why don't card makers create encouraging and inspiring cards that invoke a greater commitment and dedication to the things that truly matter and will far outlast their individual careers? I can see how they want to reflect the current culture of dads so they can sell and make profits, but where are the people who are outraged by this? Why do we settle and accept this as our reality?

I don't want to make this political, but it seems to me that if women want to truly empower themselves, they would stop putting up with self-centered men and cry out against deadbeat dads. And if men wanted to be the heroes they dream of, they would rise up and put aside their own desires to sacrifice for the lives of their families - be a hero to the little boy or girl that calls him dad, and to the woman who looks forward to his coming home from work to help put the kids to bed. Sure, there's nobody watching to pat him on the back and no chance of a pay raise for doing a good job. But the payoff is far greater than any father could ever conceive of, even in his wildest dreams.

Me wrestling with my two boys
A dad who is there produces children who feel valued. He creates an environment of safety and protection, so his family can flourish and fail all together. He builds character through his training and instruction, and affirms personality with his affections and acceptance. He tells his kids they are important no matter what and his wife she is loved under any circumstance. He is honest, hard-working, dedicated, reliable, sensitive, giving, sacrificing, honorable, patient, forgiving, graceful, and loving. He plays with his children and becomes interested in whatever it is they are interested, even if he's not interested in it. He coaches them and encourages them, praising them for their efforts and abilities. He gets off work early so he can attend his kids' sporting events. A dad who is there chooses his family over himself...

...or he can watch TV.


Alicia said...

So true, Aaron. I think the TV watching and the need to focus elsewhere is in part a result of dads feeling like they are failures before they even begin. Or worse, they feel they are not even necessary. Looking at the statistics proves this is simply a lie.

Kudos to those dads who don't give up, who are carving out their own niche in our culture and in their families. You guys are unsung heroes!

I so appreciate the time and thought you put into your family, Aaron, and I know your boys are as sweet, hilarious, smart and fun because they have an amazing mommy AND daddy! Good work to you and all the other dads out there who really deserve to be celebrated and encouraged!!! There is no way a mom or anyone else can replace you in those children's lives.

Aaron Potratz said...

That's a good point. I hadn't thought about the idea that many men don't ever get that secure sense of self growing up, so they "escape" into whatever else to avoid feeling like a failure.

I was also thinking on Sunday that maybe dads just want to relax because they work so hard (read: often OVER-working) during the week to provide, so on their time off they want to veg. Not that this is okay, or even an accurate interpretation of reality for men, but that it happens...

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! It's great to have some interaction here! :-)

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