Welcome to Redefining Dad…

The inspiration for the founding of this blog comes from the insurmountable loss of my Father-in-Law and patriarch of our family due to Pancreatic Cancer. His passing was such an emotional and quick experience, that it left me with a longing to have more deep conversations with him. Sure, we talked all the time, but like typical men of his and mine generation, our conversations included the 5 essential elements of every man’s conversation: sports, tools, the way something “should” work, money and how things “used” to be. It dawned on me recently that after the 10+ years of having him in my life, I can count no more than 5 times that we actually had a meaningful conversation about being a dad and raising children. When I reflect on my conversations with my own Father, I noticed the same pattern. These two important men have a combined 140 years of life experience under their belts – and I have only scratched the surface of their wisdom. Also, add in the fact that we live in Southern California: one more the most exhilarating, bizarre and diverse places in this country. Surely these men’s wisdom would be essential for survival in such a land!

Now, there could be many reasons for why this rarely ever occurred in my life but as I talk to other men, primarily dads, I see I am not alone. This blog isn’t about exploring the reasons why – that no longer matters – this blog seeks to correct this perceived phenomenon by getting the conversation started. In this blog we want to discuss those topics which all men should be discussing. Sure, sports, tools and the like have their place – and we’ll be discussing that too but what we “need” to talk about are those things we may traditionally avoid discussing with one another.

I plan to approach our topics in a serious yet accessible way, being sensitive to the multi-cultural environment that is Southern California. I do guarantee that some topics will be uncomfortable and even controversial – but necessary. I want our discussions to be honest and frank. And women/mom’s, you play a crucial role in all of this. We men are not natural talkers about these topics and we need for you to help us out, give us your opinion and tell us when we are full of it.

It is my sincerest hope that through this dialogue, we can all become better husbands and wives, parents and people. Let’s start talking!

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4 thoughts on “Welcome to Redefining Dad…

  1. I asked my dad how many diapers he changed, and he said I can not remember changing one. I made it a point to change as many as possible. You just have to take some time occasionally and in vision what type of father you want to be, and strive to become that man.
    I think that your father in law was taken so quickly, you did not get the chance to explore the deeper questions. With in laws you try and not be to controversial , and keep it smooth . We are use to digging into our own parents without mercy. Sorry for your families loss. I am sure you will find deeper meanings in your conversations, even though you kept them to “manly” topics.

    • Thank you for the reply. I think that is a great point you make about envisioning the type of Father you want to be. The feedback I get from my Father’s generation is one of two things: A) They mimic their own Fathers or B) They tried to become different/better than their Fathers, which ultimately made them turn into their Fathers. I think today’s Dads make an attempt, to make more of an effort, to be better. We are more in tune with the emotional effects that our childhood had on us and we are determined to break the cycle. Here’s wishing good luck to all of us. Thanks again for the reply and feel free to share the blog with anyone else who might be interested.

  2. Rolondo,

    I admire and salute your project, first because your family commands my respect (and I hope this forum brings a measure of therapeutic comfort for your loss), second because I became a dad about a year ago and I want to get it right, and third because I don’t really know my own father and I am intrigued about what that means. He has been absent from my life and that makes its own sort of impression–though I have spent most of my life thinking it did not matter.

    In the absence of a father, I have referred to cultural sources, including the “norm” supplied by American television. There is an excellent series on PBS called “America In Primetime” which has an episode called “Man of the House,” which traces the changing cultural molds of fatherhood–at least, as portrayed on TV. Even though it’s just television, there’s a kernel of truth, and it goes from Father as the reliable but distant provider in the 1950s (“Leave it to Beaver”), the more hip variant of the 1960’s (“Make Room for Daddy”), the multitasking Mr. Nice Guy of the 1970s (“The Brady Bunch”), the more cosmopolitan version of the 1980s (“Cosby”), the more frazzled dads of the 90s (“The Simpsons” and “The Sopranos”) and the downright dysfunctional father figures in more recent shows (“Family Guy” and “American Dad”). TV exaggerations aside, this evolution reveals something that is true about fatherhood in society. There is an increasing pressure on fathers to be not just providers, but also to be emotionally engaged. As American women join the work force, the Dad needs to be involved in household stuff, but sexist income disparities in American society mean he still also has to be the primary provider, so he is getting tugged in multiple directions. You know, even a tough guys like Tony Soprano has to go see a shrink!

    You were selected by O.C. FAMILY as one of the exemplary “Dads in O.C.” (Nov. 2010), so I suspect you have been able to strike a balance. I know this blog will be thoughtful, insightful, and have many interesting ruminations about this crazy and wonderful journey called fatherhood.

    Tipping my hat to you,

    -c.

    • Carlos, thank you so much for the reply. I so enjoy reading your take on these and other topics – really well put together. And thanks for the reminder about the “Dad’s in OC” – I completely forgot about that. Keep on replying and feel free to tell others about the blog, the more insight, the better.

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