Every Child Needs a Dad…

Recently Rachel and I had the opportunity to sit down and watch a movie. That may not seem like a big deal, but remember that we have 4 kids that are 5 and under. (Think what you want about whether or not you should raise little ones on a schedule, but with our 4 we greatly cherish our time in the evenings after they’ve drifted off to the dreamland of Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Veggietales.)

On this particular evening we chose to watch The Way, Way Back, a film that had been recommended by one of my best friends. Here’s the preview:

The main character is a boy named Duncan. In the movie we see that Duncan is on summer vacation with her mom and her new boyfriend. The boyfriend sometimes acts like he wants them to become a family and be a good father figure, but it’s easy to see that he’s really completely self-centered. (Side note: It was enjoyable to see Steve Carell as the antagonist/boyfriend. He did a great job not being the “good guy.”) Towards the end of the movie we find out that Duncan’s real dad doesn’t want to have the responsibility of raising him either.  Duncan starts to receive some positive reinforcement and an ear that actually listens to him from a man that runs the local waterpark. While this character isn’t an ideal pseudo-father, he at least encourages Duncan and provides an atmosphere of support and acceptance.

The movie brings out a major fact of life: every child needs a dad. Note: I did not say every child needs THEIR dad. Not every child needs the person in their lives that helped produce them. In fact, some children are much better off without that man in their lives. (Man is being used in very loose terms here. Most of them act and conduct themselves more like adolescent boys.)

I remember about 10 years ago when a young woman I admired made a mistake and ended up pregnant. I invited her to get together and talk. I was young, I think around 19, but I wanted to let her know that she had support. That we all make mistakes. I worried that in a small, conservative area she might feel like an outcast. I remember saying something like, “Everyone needs a dad, but I don’t think your child will need their real dad.” I could have been more tactful, but knowing the father, my point got across. I was on the brink of offering to be the dad myself, but I was already too smitten with the girl who is now my wife to make that type of an offer. She was appreciative of my support and ended up having a beautiful baby boy a few months later.

Every child needs a dad—a  male figure that can tell little girls they’re princesses and little boys they’re brave and courageous. But being a dad doesn’t mean you have to have produced a child from your loins. A dad can be a grandpa, a cousin, or a friend. What it takes to be a dad is to provide the male figure in a little girl or boy’s life to provide support, acceptance, and sometimes a little adventure.

So even if you don’t plan to have kids—please, be a dad. Find a child that is missing that key role in their lives and provide the support and acceptance they need to realize they’re special. I promise, you won’t regret it.

–SH

A recent trip for a check-up at the doctor's office. Happy New Year!

A recent trip for a check-up at the doctor’s office. Happy New Year!

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2 Thoughts on “Every Child Needs a Dad…

  1. I’m glad you’re my kids’ dad!

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