“I told my wife at the time, let’s not give the lawyers any money for a divorce procedure. You know I am the children’s dad. We don’t need to battle for custody. We are the parents. If you and me have ah problem, it doh have nothing to do with the children, so let’s just tell the judge or magistrate, we have it all worked out.”
So said, so done, Roy and his ex-wife went to court, and had a divorce with financial stress.
The judge was confused. “So how much are you going to pay for child support?”
“Child support? But is my children, I will support them based on what they need. I don’t understand how a court needs to get into my life and tell me how to be a dad.”
Can we really disagree with my friend Roy? The kids at the time lived with him because he simply had more time to commit to parenting. Roy worked in the arts, which can be beneficial for quality parenting. Roy, his ex-wife, and their kids started a revolution. What they did was personal, and it’s generally unheard of. The legal system was surprised by the couple’s proposal, and it seems like the more people that came to understand his family’s special situation the more they would leave baffled, but most likely empowered.
It seems like men are supposed to just know what fatherhood or manhood would entail. We are all expected to man up or man out.
“Act like a man,” your partner may say to you, but what does she really know about being a man, if you as man are still trying to figure it all out.
Impregnating isn’t always easy, whether men are open about it or not, but it’s a lot easier than the responsibility of being a parent, and too many boys aren’t hearing or seeing that from the men around them.
Some men simply deposit their sperm and leave, completely absent from the home, because he’s lost track of the homes that house his “kids.” Others are physically present, but rarely ever contribute to bonding with the youth. Those dads are actually better off divorcing their wife because she’s pretty much a single mother anyway.
Then we have some real daddies out there, the men that could tell you about the many ups and downs of parenting. This idea that men would make money and pass it over to the misses to manage the home’s economics is such a waste of time.
Take my friend Roy; he has a daughter. He was a single parenting dad with a boy and girl. His experiences fathering a daughter was jaw-dropping. He shared a scenario where the female class teacher at his daughter’s single-sex school called him in to the school to complain about his daughter’s behaviour. Upon arrival, the principal questioned his presence, insisting that he should not have come in.
This of course raised more questions in Roy’s mind, so he engaged the teacher to get to the root of the problem, and the teacher responds, “So I was making fun of a fat student in the class, because everyone knows she’s fat, and your daughter told me that my behaviour wasn’t acceptable.”
Roy was shocked, naturally, because from all accounts she has done nothing to deserve punishment. Roy further asked, “So was she rude?” No. “Was she disrespectful? No, no, no! The teacher went on to say she believed that he should reinforce the idea that a child should never question or respond to an adult, no matter how erroneous the adult’s perspective or actions are.
He then asked the teacher, for clarity, “So if my child is in a taxi and the driver wants to take her off route in the country and take off her clothes and …” She interrupts, “No, no, no!” And so begins her long apology.
The same school was also surprised that the dad initially came to the PTA meetings. He had to defend his actions. “My ex-wife has to work and I am the father. What am I supposed to do?”
Fathers who take the role seriously have found themselves on the messy end of the stick, when they actually seek to be men who care, especially if they have daughters.
Recently, a dad told me, that his daughter was refused health care because he accompanied his daughter to the doctor’s to have her genitalia checked out because there was a little laceration that wasn’t going away. The doctor wanted the mother present. So the man’s hands are tied, with these strict restrictions in the expectations of being the best daddy a man could be.
Roy and I talk about real man stuff, relationships, dealing with the prospects of an unfaithful partner, parenting, and generally our lives and our responsibilities. That’s a revolution, in these times where we expect men to know everything, and to do it without help, like we are a bunch of machines.
If there is anything worth manning up for, it’s the role of dad. So big up to all those guys holding down the fort as nurturers.
Happy Father’s Day guys!