By Jim “Pappy” Moore
THERE IS an ad campaign on television which shows fathers having fun times with their child. It ends with the admonition “take time to be a dad today.” That’s great advice, and a worthy topic for any day.
America needs more men to spend more time being dads. Kids need their dad. They need his time, and most of all, his undivided attention. A kid knows if they rate with their dad. They know if seeing them play ball or perform in school events matters to dad. They know if dad makes as much time for them as he does for his playing golf, or watching football games on TV, or nursing his favorite beverage.
We are suffering from a paucity of parenting by fathers in this country. Too many men are fathering children and doing very little beyond that. They seem to think that buying diapers and formula is meeting their parental obligation. Being a dad is far more than meeting the minimal requirements. It is showing up, suiting up, and being on the field and ready to play every day.
KIDS NEED a father who cares how they do in school, who cares that they learn to interact well with others. But the most important thing dad can give his child is a sense of importance and appreciation that will carry the child through even the worst of times. When you know your father is proud of you, when his conduct and words show that pride, you are a blessed son or daughter.
A word of praise from dad is just the tonic many young students need to pour themselves into some new field of study or recreation. Praise is easy to give, costs nothing but a brief amount of time, and soothes the soul like few things can. If you want your child to do well, find a reason every day to praise them, and make it sincere.
Because many fathers are lousy dads, those of us who know how to be good dads must take up the slack in society for the bad fathers. We cannot let their kids fall through the cracks, because they surely will. Kids whose fathers are gone all the time, or simply are not very supportive, are kids who will need the dads of their friends and relatives to help fill that void.
Be the dad who coaches Little League. Be the dad who attends your daughter’s gymnastics competitions. Be the dad who takes your son and the sons of others on camping trips. Be the dad who makes time to be the dad in your children’s lives and in the lives of other children who may not have a good man in their life.
IF YOU’RE a woman, hand this column to any good man you know who can help make a difference in the lives of the kids whose fathers are not showing up.
If you’re a man, be the one who takes a moment to care about the performance of the kid whose father never makes it a practice or a game. That kid wishes he or she had a dad cheering them on. You can be the guy who lets that kid feel just a little more important today. You can be that man. Abraham Lincoln once said “No man is so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” That’s great advice from a great American.
© 2008, Jim “Pappy” Moore, All Rights Reserved. Jim “Pappy” Moore is a humorist and country philosopher, a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home.