Monday, November 17, 2008

Faith In Our Fathers


On the mornings when my husband, Nick, walks the girls to the bus stop, my commute involves me leaning over the side of my bed and picking up my laptop and the remote. I’m lucky like that (for both the husband that shares bus duty, and my ability to make money from home). And while I’m busy writing, I usually have the TV on, with the volume turned down low—loud enough for me to tune out irrelevant drivel and hear stuff that I want and need to hear. Recently, I caught site of this video on the The Today Show, and immediately pumped up the volume. A black guy? Wagging his finger and twisting his hips and cheering? About boys?!

Turns out that the video, produced by the Ad Council with the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, is a PSA that encourages fathers to be better dads and get more involved in their children’s lives. The inspiration for the piece came, according to the Ad Council, after a survey revealed that more than 79% of Americans feel “the most significant family or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father from the home.”

I can dig that that. Lord knows enough of us have survived without/missed/wished for a stable father figure in our homes—and suffered because our daddies didn’t live up to their promise. But seeing that I’m a glass-is-half-full kinda girl, I took this PSA not as a plea to fathers to step up to the plate, but a heart-warming “thank you” for the ones doing right by their kids—fathers like my Dad, who, without the benefit of a caring, nurturing father to show him how to love a child, turned out to be the most loving, nurturing father this girl could ever have.

And like my husband Nick, who, consistently reminds me I picked well when he makes my girls giggle, and helps them sort out tough math problems, and teaches them Taekwondo moves “so that they can fight off any boy who steps to them wrong,” and throws blue "footie" pajamas in the cart at Target so his girls will be “cuddly” warm in their beds.

And the fathers who bring their paychecks home…

And kick in toward the mortgage/rent, or pay it outright…

And rub the swollen feet and sore backs of the pregnant women they love…

And change diapers and warm bottles and bounce babies on their arms, even when they haven’t a clue, really, what they’re doing, or we stand over their shoulders, ordering them to do it our way…

And play horsey and helicopter over and over and over again, their exhausted bodies energized only by the glee in their giggly children’s “please, Daddy—one more time?” pleas...

And dole out discipline in healthy doses—with great love and the profound knowledge that setting their kids straight will go a long way in helping them become better human beings.

And make their families feel protected, even when deep inside, they’re scared crapless…

And kiss their wives passionately because they think after all these years, she’s still hot…

And do it in front of their kids, so that they can know that they’ve seen true love…

And love the Lord…

And their children with abandon…

We see you.

In the words of the esteemed poet Tupac Shakur, “You are appreciated.”

And loved.

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  1. This commercial is one of my favorites, and I saw it in the same light that you did. I saw my husband in that finger-wagging, cheering dad. My husband is a SAHD and I'm the main breadwinner. He cooks, he cleans, he does the laundry, he handles the homework, he doles out both "cups of tickles" and discipline, and loves the kids and me freely and openly. What I love most about him is that he can do all this - assume the role that has traditionally belonged to women - and not feel like his masculinity or role as a provider is diminished. What he provides to us is more valuable than any paycheck he could ever bring home. He is truly proud to say that he is a stay at home dad.

    Yes - I do love this commercial. It reminds me of the father I didn't have, but more closely brings me joy knowing that this is the father my children have.

  2. What a truly wonderful post. I LOVE the video - dads cheerleading with their daughters - priceless!

  3. Awww! I love that post! Go fathers! And to think, its not even June!

  4. Wonderful! Great post. My husband and I are both part-time stay-at-home parents, and we both work as well. So I get to appreciate his diaper-changing, baby-calming fatherhood and his ability to contribute financially to our home. He sets a great example for our son, too.

    Hooray for dads!

  5. That is a great commercial. My husband is that kind of dad. Hooray for all the dads out there!

  6. Great post. I'm always pleased when I see fathers receiving the recognition and encouragement they deserve. I started my blog, Mocha Dad, to bring fatherhood to the forefront so people can see that some of us are striving to do the right thing.

  7. Stopping by via SITS to say hello.

    Awesome post and video! I love my Dad, and pray that every child experiences the joys of having a father! Even if that father isn't a traditional father...uncle, brother, grandpa...Way to go Dads!

  8. BTW, I do that too- writing from home-have the TV on I mean (and the today show). Great post!
    Oh and just got my parenting magazine today and will soon flip to one of my favorite parts of it-your column :)

  9. What a great video! I haven't seen it but love that it shows a black dad that is present. It is so important that this type of image is presented in today's world. Great post.

  10. That was beautiful Denene! I really like your writing.

    And what a cute video!!

  11. I hadn't seen that video before. It really touched me...and had me cracking up at the same time. And, your post was absolutely beautiful. You said it all.

  12. What an adorable video and your writing is just superb. I'm actually choked up.

  13. Kirk came home just last night with "footie jammies" for Charlie - from Target, no less. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who "picked well."

  14. love, love, love it. I remember seeing that commercial for the first time and thinking "she is going to be the baddest cheerleader on the team...all because daddy helped her." Awesome post!


  15. I saw this commercial a few months ago and adored it...watched it over and over with tears in my eyes. A wonderful portrayal of a loving, caring dad.

    Your writing is beautiful Denene and explains exactly why I love my husband so much. Go Dads!

  16. As usual, what a gorgeous, well-written post. This is so true. A father's love is priceless and the dads that work hard AND make time to spend with their family should be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  17. The was absolutely touching. I love it! This post was well written, and from the heart! This depicts what fatherhood should represent for any child.

  18. I love It! This video was too funny....with a positive message. Denene you are an awesome writer. I want to be like you when I grow up.

  19. First off, that commercial made me laugh out loud! He is one dedicated daddy! While I can't quite see my husband outside snapping his fingers and doing cheers with our daughter (who, at 3, already knows all the cheers of my niece's middle school cheerleading squad), I marvel every day at the things he does for and with her. He reads to her constantly, plays the silliest games, helps teach her new letters and makes her learn to write them — I could go on and on. He is a great father, and I too see this ad as a tribute to all the dads who are getting it right — even without the benefit of a father to show them how to do it.

  20. Well said! My biological father was not always around but my grandfather was. From the day I was born until the day he died. He continued to raise me when my mother died and even sent me to college. He was an awesome father! Not once did I feel that I was missing something. He was my hero. I know that I am strong, confident, beautiful and will not take no for an answer today because of him. It was of the utmost importance that I picked a husband that would make an awesome dad for my babies!

  21. I am so glad I came over here today. You write so beautifully..and there was so much power in your words today. It's so true that we forget what amazing heros our hubbies and fathers are...the good ones are out there...and making magic every day for their families. I experienced the bad side. My ex walked out on me and our 3 little ones and never looked back. Not one peep out of him in 15 years. So my kids grew up without a dad...and it leaves scars that no matter how much momma tried to heal...they are still there. I was lucky enough to get the great blessing of a great man in my life...just in time for him to show my girls what they should be looking for...and to show my son what a real man does for his family. I will always be grateful to him for setting the bar so high! Thanks so much for this really touched me. I wish this one could be read by every man on the planet!!!

  22. what a great commercial! i have been blessed with a wonderful pop who has always been a great supporter and cheerleader in my life, and my husband is the same with our children.

  23. Black dads are the unsung heroes of our world. I love your line, "We see you." I think so often Black men who are doing the right thing just feel invisible. Thank you for giving us all a little reminder that we've got to give our men their props, and on the regular:)

  24. Girl your heartfelt appreciation for Nick is just beautiful. I love you guys' love. jd

  25. I loved this commercial when I saw it. I found it online and watched it again and again and again. Brilliant.


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