I am going to put my discussion on 'fear and doubt in the interview process' on hold to discuss something far more important and impactful. This will be directly focused on dads. For the moms reading this, make sure your men read it or at least are provided the basics by you.
I just returned home from a vacation. On my return I was traveling by air and traveling alone. As I was walking down the jetway to board my flight it was standing room only in a line about 40 feet long. If you've flown you've stood in one of those lines. There she was. A mom, alone, with two young kids (I would find out 4 and 1) wrestling with her stroller to give to the airline attendant to stow below as three large bags and a car seat sat around her. No one offered to help. No man-slam here however as equal numbers of men and women filed past her and onto the plane.
"Excuse me," I offered, "I'd be happy to help you if you would like." She looked at me for a few seconds with both shock and disbelief at the offer and then said, "I would love that."
All I had was a carry-on so throwing one of her bags over a shoulder and carrying the car seat was simple enough. I got them settled in their seats and offered to help her deplane upon our arrival in Atlanta if she would like.
We landed and I got up earlier than most everyone else so I could make my way to their row. She was happy to have the help so we repeated the process as we exited the plane. It was as I walked her to her next gate that I found out her situation (I had a 4 hour lay-over so what did I care?).
She was recently divorced and her ex-husband lives 4 miles from her. He offered during the divorce proceedings that she could have sole custody and he has not done anything with the kids since. No phone calls. No visits. The one year old's 1st birthday was the previous week and he didn't call, send a card, or stop by. Nothing. A first birthday is a pretty big deal wouldn't you agree?
I kept my shock inside and instead asked, "Does his behavior surprise you?"
"Yes, it does." She went on to describe how his behavior had changed once the kids came along and that he just wasn't "cut out to be a father". She admitted it was almost easier with him out of the picture but she just felt bad that her kids will never know their dad (assuming this keeps up, of course).
We arrived at her next gate where she thanked me with a handshake. I offered my condolences to her and wished her well. And with that, I left. However, I remain saddened for her and for her kids. Most of all I feel profound sadness for that dad. What a HUGE loss it will be for him one day as he reviews this time in his life. The trajectory of those kids' lives will be forever impacted by his selfishness. What excuse might he have? Will it be good enough for them to understand?
The studies over the years on this issue are consistent and clear - a dad's impact in the lives of kids is deeply felt, especially with daughters. The dad is the primary barometer for young girls on how she relates to the opposite sex, how promiscuous she will become, and what image of God she forms. Pretty big stuff.
Men, who are dads, we have a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. I understand that sometimes divorce is necessary and, in some circumstances, can even be beneficial. But abandonment is never necessary. Abdicating our parental responsibility should never be acceptable. May we be better men than that. The next generation is counting on it.comments powered by Disqus