One Father Speaks- The Media Does Not Define Me

“These are the days now that we must savor
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You’ve got to hold them in your heart.”
These Are The Days- Van Morrison

Those nameless few who make up the people we refer to as “they say” tell me that the mirror doesn’t lie. If that is true than the years haven’t been as kind to me as I might like them to be.

A few lines and creases have attached themselves to my face and some of the hair that used to cover my head has chosen to head elsewhere. The hard body isn’t as hard as it once was and a host of mystery aches seem to have taken up residence. Fortunately a good stretch in the morning sends them running away at high speed.

But none of that is particularly significant or important. That is not to say that I think it is ok to become a complete slop and let my physical health slide because I am adamantly against that.  My real focus is upon how the internal affects the external.

The Media Says…

If you spend time surfing through the dad blogosphere you’ll find an ongoing discussion about how the media portrays us and whether we need to do something about it. My gut feeling is that some of us are missing the boat.

I am not disputing that there are more than a few examples of men/fathers being presented in an unfavorable light and that this could cause issues. However I don’t spend much time worrying about it because my focus is upon my own actions and how I present myself.

People remember how you made them feel first and what you did second. I see both of those as metrics that I can support. They offer a different sort of clout than the Klout so many in social media debate about.

So while I cannot completely discount that stupidity can be contagious I cannot and will not spend all of my time railing about how unfair life can be. You don’t hear every story about the mothers at the park who tell me that they think it is cute to see me “babysit” my children.

That is not the only irritant. When I use a public restroom I know that sometimes a mother is going to come charging in to try and confirm that there are no scary people in there with her children. I am a parent. I get that, but if I am in the stall I am not going to announce my presence or engage in conversation with mom.

Some of the boys are irritated because there is a double standard. My 7 year-old daughter will not use the men’s room. It is not a question and I know that should I dare stick my head in the ladies room there will be an uproar. It is not right and it is not fair but life isn’t fair.

What Is The Point

The point is that we need to pick and choose our battles. We need to focus our energy on the things that matter. For me that primary effort is devoted to my children. It is devoted to making sure that they get a great education and learn how to be productive members of society.

I want them to learn the importance of generosity and gratitude. I want them to appreciate the value of hard work and to understand that we judge people based upon their actions and not their image.

I want them to learn how to distinguish between fighting for pride and principle.There is a time for everything and if they learn those distinctions it will serve them well in life.

All the rest is just commentary.

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