Yes, Fall marks the end of the lazy days of Summer and is seen by some as an unwanted party crasher that spoils all the fun. Yet Fall is also signals that good things are about to begin, and not just football season. Fall can be a season of relative peace compared to the noise of Summer, an opportunity for solitude and contemplation, and a chance to get back to business with renewed resolve.
As such, this might be a good time to survey the fatherhood landscape in America and take stock of what we see. From where I sit, there might be a few glimmers of recognition that fathers just might be important after all. These might be due less to reason and common sense and more to tragic circumstances. One includes researchers reporting that mass shooters typically come from father-absent homes. Another is that boys raised without a father’s playful roughhousing tend not to learn that there are limits to acceptable physicality, and as a result, do not develop empathy for other people. But these glimmers play against a backdrop of telling men to ‘shut up’, defining masculinity as toxic, and educating boys that they can choose to be girls.
I continue to believe that the need for good fathers should cut across the boundaries of race, gender, religion and politics. In an odd way, then, it might be the one issue that could unite an otherwise severely divided society, and this alone might be worthy of contemplation this Fall. But beware that especially in this political “silly season” division is celebrated and cohesion shunned. Clear thinking on the importance of dads might not come easily. But let’s try!
Speaking of Fatherhood
Check out Garry Cobb, former NFL great, says about the need for good parents in the Fathers & Families PRO Episodes.
Speaking of Fatherhood ll
I was honored to serve as a keynote speaker at the third annual convening of the STRONG FAMILIES COALITION in Philadelphia on September 18 and 19. The Coalition is chaired by the extraordinary Dr. Rufus Sylvester Lynch whom I call the “Godfather of Fatherhood.” Entitled “From the Beginning: Early Childhood Development and the Roles of Fathers,” the conference was an inspiring and uplifting opportunity to rub shoulders (no, not in the Joe Biden sense) with two hundred men and women – PhDs, social workers, researchers, academics, federal and state officials, and non-profit leaders — committed to improving the lives of children and families by empowering fathers. I addressed Expectations of the Corporate World in Supporting Childhood Development & the Role for Fathers. I explored the need for business leaders to apply their considerable talents in addressing the biggest social problem we face: the Crisis of Fatherlessness. For a copy on my remarks, please email me.
What Good Dads Do
Allan Shedlin is the passionate Founder the DADvocacy Consulting Group and the Daddy Wishes Fund; a renowned author, researcher, and speaker on fatherhood matters; a creative fatherhood pioneer on the meaning of Daddying, and a friend whom I greatly admire. Read this prayer.
“A DADDY’S PRAYER” (AKA “A PARENT’S PRAYER”)
by Allan Shedlin
At the end of my days may my child be able to conclude with honesty, conviction, and enthusiasm that I did the best I could…and then some.
May I become the dad of my yearning, the one I might have dreamed for if I dared.
May I be mindful that when I dare, reality may present challenges to test my seriousness of intent and purpose.
At those times, may I remain mindful of my intentions and “daddy on” as if my child’s life depends on it – as might mine.
Let the ideal of a “perfect parent” be my lodestar, humbled by the realization that there is no such thing. Just as there is no such thing as a “perfect child”…rather, a child who is perfectly who they are.