You know what’s tough? Trying to get dads to talk about how good they are at being dads. When I first started this story, I reached out to some father pals to ask what they loved most about the gig. I was expecting prideful moments, tearjerker tales and emotional symphonies. I was met with jokes, laughter and blank stares. It’s not that these guys don’t relish being fathers, but they don’t seem to spend a lot of time ruminating or congratulating themselves about it, either. It’s just what they do. You know?
With a little pushing, though, I was able to get a few fathers, experienced and new, to pause and reflect on some memorable moments.
“When my daughter was 12 or 13, I would drive her and her friends to and from bat and bar mitzvahs, and they would sit in the car saying, ‘When I’m a lawyer, and you’re a doctor and you’re a stock broker…we’ll all get together and celebrate our careers.” I look back now and my daughter is the attorney, her friend Michelle is in finance and her other friend is a doctor. They did it. And it does my heart good to know I raised her right and supported her in the path that she chose.”
“Watching my kids lovingly play with each other and showing compassion to one another, and reading to each other. I read to my son every night, and seeing him then read to his brother makes me feel like it matters to him.”
“My daughter recently had to host a plant sale and raise money for charity at school. They learned about taking care of the plants, budgeting and selling. They also had an option to make a presentation for their class about what charity should receive the proceeds. Everyone assumed it would go to the ASPCA. We were talking about it over dinner, and she was inspired to give money to The Trevor Project. They fund hotlines for LGBTQ youth. It doesn’t necessarily impact her, but she was thinking about other people. It represented our family values, taking care of other people outside of ourselves, and she had the courage and ambition to spend time working on this optional project. She presented it in front of her class, and she got half the votes, and so half of the proceeds went to The Trevor Project. It speaks to values, pride and courage.”
“I’m constantly awed by both of my daughters, but probably the most recent example that stands out is my 7-year-old and her interest in strong female leaders. Every night, she grabs her calculator and reads, then determines (for the fourth or fifth time) the age of each woman featured in one of her favorite books, ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.’ Recently, she started an amazing project. She received the book ‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History,’ and was so fascinated by each profile that she is making a drawing of each of the 40 women profiled in it. She was thrilled to find out that the author, Vashti Harrison, is coming out with a second edition in November, and is counting the days until it comes out. She also plans on contacting Vashti when she finishes the project to let her know how much the book meant to her. I mean, I get teary thinking about it.”