What an incredible opportunity for me! I am so flattered to be asked by Cindy and Julie to write a man’s POV blog just in time for Father’s Day. Being a Dad is without a doubt the most enjoyable thing in my life, so I hope I can successfully & clearly communicate that point.
One last thing – please hold your applause until the end.
Funny thing is, my Dad would not disagree with my statement. Like a lot of men from his generation, my Pop was more of a “Father” than a “Dad” (Stay with me here – inside my head I’m making perfect sense.) Many times, it wasn’t until becoming “Grandpa” that men like my Dad realized that getting close to your children could actually be a lot of fun. But the times, they are a changin’. Not to say it’s by coincidence that this occurrence is becoming more prevalent in this generation – I’m a man of theories, so here are a few for you to chew on in consideration.
1. Women power ~ As you fine women can attest, there has been a significant change in the Male/Female dynamic as it relates to work and family life. The more notable development as a result is the increase and impact of women in the workplace; but the same situation has created a different arrangement in the home as well. Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, “Mom” isn’t the only caregiver in the house any longer. Technology and the home office have made the parenting roles more fluid than in the past.
2. The mindset is changing ~ Mom’s still the bomb, but Dad’s getting pretty rad. A lot of guys in my generation (35-50) had a “jail warden” relationship with their Dads. My Dad wasn’t the Great Santini but he wasn’t arranging Summer Bible Camps for his kids, either. Now, it’s not uncommon to see Dads at the school having lunch with the kiddos or even dropping them off at school. If my Dad had shown up at lunch I would have immediately gone thru my mental checklist of “who died?” Not anymore – today the lunchroom, tomorrow the PTO!
3. The other side of travel ~ Dads travel for work. I think it’s noted in Genesis that God created the DC-9 so man could rule the skies over birds and beasts. We still travel for work, but it’s a different kind of travel. It seems to me that Dads actually want to get back home sooner (no offense Mom, but I’m pretty sure Pop opted for another night at the Hilton on more than one occasion.) Not only that, but the kids actually want Dad home sooner. We loved our Dad, but staying off his radar for a few days a week was just fine and dandy with my brother and I.
4. Hindsight is 20/20 ~ When you experience something as a child, you make a choice. You can either perpetuate the situation, or you can make changes. I’m 100% certain that a lot of men made the conscious effort to be more hands-on (i.e., “care”) with their children. Who would have guessed we could actually be good at this parenting thing? In my Dad’s final years, all he wanted was to spend time with his grandsons, and he mentioned on more than one occasion (Dads love to give advice) that my brother and I should learn from his mistakes and not let the little ones grow up on us without noticing. Some advice is too good to ignore; no one ever wishes they had spent more time having 3-martini lunches, so there must be some validity to that nugget of wisdom.
I love Father’s Day. I get to watch the U.S. Open, eat a suspiciously prepared breakfast with eggs and peanut butter, and I usually score a cool new gadget in my fruitless efforts to improve my golf game. I can reflect on the life my father provided for our family, and try to learn from the lessons he taught us during his lifetime. But really, it’s just another Sunday for me – in my house, every day is Dad’s day.
To my wife Karen, and my beautiful boys Jack & Cooper ~ thank you for letting me be “Daddy.”
John Reaves Whitaker is a Partner at PeopleResults. With 24 years of experience, John’s expertise, outside of being a great dad, includes Leadership Development, Talent Management, Workforce Planning and Performance Management, with specific experience in Coaching & Development within Sales organizations. You can follow him on Twitter @JWPeopleResults.