Mommy, Where Is My Daddy?
In nature, it is instinctive for the offspring of a mated pair to bond to its mother, in most cases. It is not true for the male of the pair to seek that close bonding instinctive need. In humans, this is a matter of choice for the male. This is evident by the very large number of single parent homes run by unwed mothers and the court dockets filled with cases of unpaid child support cases. For concerned dads this unnatural choice turns into a sense of duty and honor. It ends up as another obligation that has to be fulfilled. It is an obligation that, after survival, ranks even higher, in drastic cases, than a males natural instinct of self-preservation, but it is still a choice. Concerned dads, in our society, have many duties that they feel they must accomplish at the same time. Things like earning a living to support a family, being a responsible relative to the tribe you came from, living a life that makes you respected in your community, being a good pet owner, taking good care of your own body, and, oh yeah, being at the beck and call 24/7 365, in a non-leap year, of your spouse and those kids you helped make or adopted. Concerned dads really have to weigh the decisions they make to be looked at favorably because society knows that there is no instinctive bonding gene in our DNA to our offspring like there is to our spouse or mate. Even that will be questioned if those offspring are not properly cared for. Here, again, there is no handbook on right or wrong of being a concerned dad.
For those who are reading this and are not concerned dads, I will attempt to point out a few of these decisions. Money is very useful in fulfilling the role of a concerned dad. The decision is, how much time spent away from the family unit to get that money is acceptable. Is the traveling salesman away from the family 30 weeks a year really a concerned dad? Is the extreme difference between family hours and work hours for the money really worth the loss of companionship from spouse, mate, and offspring’s? Is a leadership role in the community in a service job like a township council member or a volunteer fireman really worth the accolades? You are well respected for your service but are you well respected by your offspring for that precious lost inter-action time?
All these decisions change as the concerned dads offspring grow from infancy, to toddlers, to young children, to young adults. What spouses or society may not have tolerated when the offspring were very young will be encouraged as they grow. An example is the active participation in various sports. In my case, I gave up one sports activity and participated in a different one that my children could also take part in as they grew. I was unable to attend Parent Teachers Association meetings during the evening due to my work schedule but I was the first male “class mom” in my children’s elementary school. The concerned dad struggles with these personal sacrifices of his individuality that go against his natural instincts and continues to perform his duties as expected. It is a testimony of his belief of positive reinforcement of individual responsibility being set by good example to his offspring and to the society around him.
All of the above mention struggles of the concerned dad are intensified and thrown out of balance and tolerance if the concerned dad feels that a personal goal or accomplishment supersedes anything that is not perceived as the family needs come first. It makes no difference how noble or important to the concerned dad this individual accomplishment may be to him. If this road is taken, he knows that without extenuating circumstances he may face ridicule or disdain. There are things that can lessen these negative views. Proper long term planning, the assistance of other willing tribe members to fulfill some concerned dad chores, the use of pets to provide companionship and a sense of security, constant open lines of direct communication at the time of absenteeism, etc, etc.
All concerned dads needs and wants are different and the needs of his family not applicable to any other family than his own. If you are put in this situation try to remember that you chose not to pay child support, not to run from responsibility, and most importantly you chose to get those hugs everyday.