Behold, perhaps the most vile and wretched example of our specie, the Monster Dad. Oh, how I wish I were speaking of a lovable muppet with little mupplets running underfoot. Sadly, I’m speaking of a phenomenon that keeps popping up in the news of late: dads that are just too fucking stupid or too fucking evil to have anything to do with their progeny.
Writing over at Sprocket Ink, I’ve had opportunity to see some of these stories and poke and prod at them. Ultimately, though, some have left me in need of a shower for my brain, to clean off the grime of broken children. I have to tell you, this topic is near and dear to my heart. I fought like a bastard to get Little Danger in my life, and I believe deep in my soul that I must be the best Dad I can be. Every. Single. Day.
This guy deserves my very best.
It’s true that there are many kinds of Dads…Good Dads, Dads That Need Work, and the dreaded Monsters. None are perfect, and dammit, we don’t have to be…we just have to be committed to being a Good Dad.
Alright, Dads, huddle up. We got some shit to talk about here. We have the power to help our kids be awesome. Whether we’re Soros rich or mudpie poor, smart or Cletus the slack jawed yokel, good with our hands or fumbling fools (like me), happily married or messily divorced, our job on this planet is to lift our offspring up on our shoulders and help them reach for stars. (Unless they dream of paleontology, then we put them on the ground and grab a shovel.)
Most of us, I think, know this. It’s intrinsic, printed on the fabric of our chromosomes. It is as inevitable as Lohan’s next arrest. It is up to us to perform the greatest service to our children we can…to look at them and wonder “Who are you going to be, and how can I help you be the best you possible?” Some, it seems, decide to force their child to be what they’ve decided they should be. Down that path lies anguish.
That’s bad enough, but what the fuck makes some of these guys go way the hell off the beaten path? What possesses a guy to get so drunk he lets his 8 year old drive the truck to get where he wants to go? Isn’t it difficult to be that self-centered? Or are the brain cells just pickled by enough Jack Daniels to float the Nimitz?
This is an egregious affront to children everywhere. We cannot afford to be selfish. We can (and probably should) take those mini-breaks: drop the kids off with a sitter, overnights with the grandparents, that sort of thing. But the rest of the time, we must be not selfless, but self-sharing.
It is not for us to live our lives for ourselves alone once we don the mantle of Dad. We’re living for the future at this point, a future which doesn’t include getting so wiped out that a 4 year old starts chugging the half-empties in the front yard, or sitting in the car while a meth deal goes down.
No matter how much we might feel like our own life has defeated us, once fatherhood comes, it’s a whole new game. There are so many joys available if we will look for them: the giggles of our children, the adoration in their eyes, an endless string of firsts that extends from birth into adulthood. There is victory in your child doing better than you did, in having your love, your support, and your everyday choices on their side.
I’m not saying life has to stop…Wifefish and I still do fun things, I still play video games, still do theatre, still goof off with friends…we just do these things while putting Little Danger first.
There are Dads out there that just dial it in. “I work all day”, they seem to say, “and her job is to raise the kids.” I don’t have anger for these Dads, just sadness. They are missing out in ways they can’t even fathom.
If you’re one of these, then it’s time to activate your father circuits. Engage. Your child needs you to be more than just the breadwinner, or the disciplinarian. They need Dad.
But none of these items are truly monstrous, just in need of improvement. No, I’ve saved the real trash for last. What drives a man to terrorize their child, to burn them, or beat them, or any other abuse? These Dads are alien to me. I don’t understand them, and I don’t want to.
Does it make them happy, the Monster Dads, to break a child? To cow them into submission to their “mighty will”? To cause them pain, to have it as tough as they did? Do they think that’s what it is to be a man?
Well, it isn’t. It’s what it is to be a monster. Less than human. Scum of the Earth. Listen up, Monster Dad.
How dare you treat a child like that? Are they a possession to you, like a dog or a car? Are you just fucking crazy? I challenge you, Monster Dad. Man the fuck up. Anybody could slap a kid when they’re pissed off. Next time you feel the need, go do it to Tito Ortiz. Anybody could buckle a child in fear with rage. Next time you feel the need, go try it with a Marine Drill Sergeant. See how fast you get tied into a human pretzel.
Go ahead, try slapping this guy around. I'll sell tickets.
Anybody could scream at a child, tell them what a failure they are. Next time you feel the need, try shutting the fuck up and building them up instead. No child is worthless, each child is priceless. There’s a whole new human being waiting to happen, and you have the power to help them become awesome. If you don’t agree with me, I know some fantastic adoption agencies that can help you out.
Do you agree? I’d bet everything up there in those words applies to Moms, too! Click that share button, and let’s shout it out to Moms and Dads alike. Tell me what you think in the comments, too! I’m interested in your opinion here.