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.

  • http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/ Ana Hoffman

    My husband is a great dad, Jack – and I am very proud of him for that.

    It’s time to set a new trend!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Ana,

      I love hearing about great dads. I may be a little biased, but fathers are really important. :)

  • TheJackB

    @thepaulsutton Thank you for the kind words.

  • hannibal666

    RT @Faryna One Father Speaks- The Media Does Not Define Me http://t.co/hjp9DYmu via @TheJackB

  • http://www.fathermuskrat.com the muskrat

    If it makes your girl feel better, I don’t like the men’s room, either.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      They do have their moments of yuck.

  • http://cpatlarge.blogspot.com Cyndi

    What a thoughtful post! Kudos to you not only for your great perspective on parenting, but for not letting the screwed-up media affect your self-image.

    Sounds like your children have a great role model.

    Cyndi

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Cyndi,

      Thank you for visiting. I am just a dad who is trying to help my kids live a better life. Probably no different from most fathers.

  • http://www.startyournovel.com Bell

    Hey, Jack, you’re right. Fighting for pride and fighting for principle are two very different things. Fighting for pride will almost certainly lead to ruin, because you’re liable to keep fighting after the fight is done.

    A Blood Knight is a dangerous person to hang around. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BloodKnight

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      A Blood Knight is a great character but in real life they are trouble of the sort that you really don’t want to be involved with.

      I want my kids to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

  • http://betsycross.blogspot.com Betsy Cross

    Hey Jack!
    The blog looks great. I think you nailed it.
    My 17-yr-old daughter did an interview for her college psych class yesterday. She asked me how my perspective changed after having children. That’s a really tough question. I think once the sleep deprivation became a way of life I lost all sense of perspective! LOL!
    I find I have to be able to tell them where and for what I stand. In the long run they see what I do and ignore what I say!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Betsy,

      Thank you so much. I am still working on it but just little things now. Trying to nail down some loose ends so that it works better.

      You keyed in on something really important- actions versus words. Our children pay close attention to what we do so it is critical to try and live what we say.

  • Dan Gold

    “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.” This is such a great way of putting it. So important for all kids to learn this.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Thank you Dan, I appreciate that. There are so many times in life that we run into conflict with others.

      I want my kids to have more tools to deal with it in the best possible way for that situation.

  • http://www.lifeforinstance.com/ Lori

    In my opinion, you’re focusing on the important things. I only realized once my children had both left for university how much they filled my thoughts and determined my actions. They were my passion, still are, but not in the same way since they’re on their own now.

    If I could boil it down to one thing I wanted for my children I’d say it would be that they expect good things in life and know it is good and that they can find their way and manifest what they want here. That’s more than one thing, I think!
    ;-)

    Lori

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

      @Lori Hi Lori. You really summed it up well in that second paragraph. That is certainly what I want for my children. I need for them to believe that they can live their dreams and not get caught up in dreaming their lives.