Real Beat Dads! Sounds like a cool band name? Okay, probably not. I first became a father when I was twenty five, and it was with someone I was not particularly fond of. I allowed myself to be caught up in the victimizing, self pity, doubt, and fear, and ultimately it led me down a path to be the absentee father I never wanted to become. When my other children were born, I had learned a great deal about myself, and how hard I would have to work, to keep working, in order to be a Real Beat Dad!
I said Real Beat Dad (RBD), not Dead Beat Dad which is what I was and what my father was to me. The RBD is the one who learns about their children, who puts in the work and effort into the upbringing, and is constantly working on staying on pace with the emotional, physical, and mental needs of a constantly growing child. I strive to be an active parent in the development of my children’s lives.
This requires the work that isn’t always fun and glamorous but 100% essential to the health and welfare of my kids. Showers, diaper changes, cleaning the rooms, doing laundry, cooking, and even sewing up stuffed animals and torn clothing, are all part and partial with the whole parenting experience, and an RBD is right next to the mother in getting the work done. We are not too cool to be bothering with a poopy diaper or kissing a boo boo or brushing their daughter’s hair or singing those silly little kids songs that they love to sing. The Real Beat Dad is who I wanted to become. I feel being a man is doing what must be done, and requires the utmost patience, and realization that we’ve been giving the gift of responsibility for the health, and happiness of our offspring. We are to teach them to not only survive, but thrive in this world. Happiness is what we wish for our children, but it isn’t easy to get there.
The best piece of parenting advice I ever got was, “You’re the parent. You know best.” I love this saying. You are the parent that means owning it. You know best means, you need to be willing to be open minded and learn all you can to make the best choices for your children. Easy right? Well yeah, no. It’s most likely the most difficult thing one could ever do, and not everyone is particularly good at it.
I eat well, but could eat better, I exercise, but it could be more, and I know that any point and time, there’s probably something I’m not doing right. It isn’t about focusing on that garbage. It’s about doing the best you can, learning from your mistakes, and always setting the bar high. The most important thing is I am involved with my children. We tell stories, we play in the sand, the dirt, we go outside, and we find fun things to do when we’re inside. We color, we paint, grew a garden, we write stories, create mazes. We take the raw materials and turn them into our own art. My main goal is to nurture my kids desire to create and express in the hope that this will help them get in touch with who they are as soon as possible. An open dialogue with oneself is crucial in our pursuit of happiness. We need to know how to work with ourselves. I believe this is a major step in the process of learning how to be happy.
I realize the choice was mine to make, and I’m glad I did. I’m a Real Beat Dad, and I’m proud of it. I have an active role in my younger children, and even made up with my eldest, and we have an amazing relationship as well. I am humbled by the lessons I’ve learned, and confident that I have many more to learn. Making mistakes is a part of growing up, and being a father doesn’t mean I’ve mastered the grown up part, yet. Still lots to do and learn.