What The Hell Is A 21st Century Father?
I still don’t know what a 21st century father and can’t say that I am particularly worried about that. Maybe it is just a cheap attempt to garner more attention from the people who care about fathers who blog or maybe it is just me airing out the cobwebs inside my head.
Steiner the minor went to a Bar Mitzvah Saturday morning and I took the dog for his latest round of shots. On the way to the vet I told the fur ball that half the time I don’t have a clue about anything and that I am just winging it.
Told him that I am not having a midlife crisis because I am not middle aged but that I am feeling anxious about the future. It is not the sort of anxiety you take drugs for but this sense of being on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and a gut feeling that I have to get back out of L.A.
I keep repeating that and wondering how the hell that happened. When did this place stop feeling like home and when did I decide it is time to make like my great grandparents and grandparents and start over. Can’t say that I know precisely when but I know that 7 Things You Never Say To Mean Moms has something to do with it.
I am not naive enough to believe obnoxious people only live in one place. I have moved around and traveled enough to know the truth of that but I also know that some times a father has to listen to his gut.
How Can I Be A Better Father?
Steiner the minor and his little sister gave me cards for my birthday that said I am the greatest father ever. I appreciate it and I know they mean it but I think about improving and wonder what I can do to make that happen.
That is not because I think I am a bad father because I am not. I am better than most and not as good as some.
BTW, that last part is tongue-in-cheek–I don’t compare my parenting skills to anyone besides my dad and grandfathers and even then I don’t spend much time thinking about whether they were better.
If anything I wonder what sort of advice/commentary they might offer for certain situations. Â There is a boatload of wisdom there that I don’t have access to any more, at least not in the traditional way.
When I think about them I always picture men who knew how to meet every challenge and had answers to the tough questions. I know that is not how things really went. They all told me about some of their harder moments and challenging times but memory is colored by time and age.
My primary view is as they were when I was a boy and not I as a man.
What The Hell Is A 21st Century Father?
Sometimes I think about descriptions of 21st Century Fathers and shake my head because it comes across as marketing hype and marketing garbage.
Maybe I was lucky because I had role models who did more than just provide for their families. They were all involved. Mom and dad talked about dads who traveled for work but were otherwise around and my own father was always there.
He left early to go to work and got home after dark so he didn’t always get to the middle of the day school events, but he was at the major ones. Never missed sporting events, or parent-teacher conferences.
I am not defined by what the media shows or what parent bloggers write about. My own definition as a dad comes from what I see reflected in my kids’ eyes and how I feel about myself.
Don’t ask me to tell you what a 21st century father is because I don’t know. What I know is that I am busting my ass to raise children who grow up to be menschen. Kids who have coping skills and can deal with whatever comes down the pike.
What Comes Next
Won’t be long before Steiner the minor heads off to high school. We have five years left before college and a bit more for his sister.
The questions I ask myself now are all tied into where do we need to be to give them the best education, most experiences and best opportunity to build a future.
Easy stuff, nothing difficult at all to predict or figure out there. Ok, might be some snark and sarcasm that last sentence. I am less interested in trying to predict and more in trying to prepare.
Meaning I can’t say what will happen but I can help provide them with the tools to adapt and to succeed because that is what fathers do.