I’d like to take a moment and send out a word about all of the amazing Papas out there. You know who you are.You are the amazing dads who I have seen around town, and met. You have raised the bar on parenthood and you deserve to be recognized. Now just to be clear, I am not speaking of the obsolete version of Papas. These are not the stern, frightening, fist on the table, “because I said so” Papas.
These are the Papas who don’t just carry the baby in the sling to look the part. No, you carry your child, and stop every once in a while to talk together about the world around. You are confident about your child’s understanding and capabilities, even if they are in their pre-verbal stages. You are the Papa who notices your child’s cues and communication. You are calm, caring, and connected.
This is about the Papa who comes in to the restaurant with his 4 year old boy and doesn’t take out his ipad to read the news, or talk on the phone. He is the one to read books together with his boy, and calmly say things like, “Thank you for offering me your pancake. I have some eggs to eat right now, but maybe later I can try a bite.” He is the Papa who keeps his child informed about what is going on, and why. He can be found smiling and laughing and having great conversations with his child. He is the Papa that has taken the time to read about child development and is consciously and intentionally staying aware of his child’s growth. He is talking with his child and not at him. His hands are as patient and gentle as can be, and he models respect by giving it first, rather than commanding it.
He is the Papa who models kindness on the bus with his 5 year old daughter, by not laughing at the things she says, and instead taking her seriously while responding with respect. He offers his help instead of doing things for her, and he notices what she is interested in. He is the Papa who finds moments of meaningful joy and togetherness with his daughter beyond the typical tossing her into the air, or tickle frenzy. He shows his strength through patience, trust and awareness.
He is also the Papa who doesn’t mind crouching down to quietly and calmly talk to his 4 year old daughter when she is starting to get upset in a public place. His voice and words never send a message of threat, but instead validate her emotions and communicate expectations with love. You know him when you see him, because of the way his child reacts. She calms herself down and follows him not out of fear, but out of love and security. He is a quiet and soft spoken Papa, and you too maybe have noticed him.
He is the Papa who stays with his little boy for a while when he drops him off or picks him up at school.
He is the Papa who speaks to his teenage son during dinner with the same attitude that he might speak to a colleague. It is no surprise that his son speaks to him in the same manner.
They are the Papas that have changed diapers patiently and took the time to connect with their baby.
They are the Papas who are always there to listen to their kids, even if their kids don’t want their advice.
They are the Papas who have broken the barriers of stereotypical fatherhood views, and have taken fatherhood to a higher level. Maybe even in roles as primary care providers for their children.
They are the Papas that understand that fatherhood is only what they choose it to be, and they have chosen to make it a priority.
These are the Papas who I admire. I just want to send out a word to them. Thank you for being amazing. Keep up the great work. You are raising the humans of our future.
Do you have any stories of amazing Papas? I’d love to hear them!