I received a few messages from several of you asking, “Where’d you go?”, “You haven’t posted in a while, you ok?,” and the simple answer is, all good. I’ve started no fewer than twenty new posts that for one reason or another I didn’t finish. I think that once I found myself repeating myself from posts a few years old I started to wonder what was next. What messages could I provide and what topics could I cover that I had yet to delve into?
To that end, for the past six months I’ve contemplated where I’m going with this blog. It’s been over five years since I started writing and the experience has been amazing. But I’ve always believed that everything must evolve. So where was I headed? What was next?
Then last week I found myself heading to Buffalo to say goodbye to my own father who had just turned 93 and had been suffering from dementia. The decease was in its final stages and by the time I’d hit the road he had entered hospice and had stopped taking nutrients. During the 12 hour drive I thought a lot about my father and my experiences with him. I also considered my own life as a dad. And I thought about all of you. And I thought about stories I’d read about kids who didn’t have a father figure growing up for one reason or another.
The underlying thought I kept coming back to was the fact that my dad was there. Right or wrong, good or bad, brilliant or misguided, my dad was there. He wasn’t the kind of dad who came to track meets or came to see my band play. But he was there as a father. He was an influential part of my life and there was no question … he was the dad. He was a foundation and a rock for me to build my character and self image upon.
That, as it turned out, was the inspiration I was looking for. Along with encouraging readers to stay positive and to focus on the kids, I wanted to start encouraging men to “Be the Dad.” Be that rock. Be that foundation. Kids desperately need a father figure. They need that guidance. A single mom can fill a lot of roles, but I’m a firm believer that every boy needs a strong fatherly influence to help him build his character and self image. And every young lady should have the opportunity to grow up with a strong understanding male influence who will provide her with a reference of how she should be treated by men.
And so, in the coming weeks I hope to start a new video blog encouraging men to “Be the Dad.” Even if it’s not your own kid, be the dad to someone you know doesn’t have one. Be the positive, be the root. Growing up I had several father figures. Along with my father I had brothers-in-law who were like big brothers and each of them influenced me in different ways. I would not be the same person I am without their guidance and time.
I know your situation may make it harder than some, but know that every moment you spend on your son or daughter is pure gold. Every text of encouragement. Every call. Every visit. Every second you have with them is invaluable. Sometimes all it is is a mindset. Visualize yourself as “The Dad!” Remind yourself, “I’m the dad!” Because you are. And it’s a gift like none other.
I said goodbye to my dad last week. There will be characteristics of his that I will carry with me and pass down to my own kids of course. But the one thing that I’ll always remember is, he took his role as father very seriously. He was there. Always. And I’ll always thank him for that.
And so moving forward, I hope to encourage each and every one of you to, if nothing else, “Be the Dad.”