Obviously Omitting Dad
Obviously omitting dad is to easy to do!
I grew up in a sea of “middle American values.
” It is a term used to define the common value system of the middle of the United States. The values are supposedly more conservative and family orientated. I can take pride in some of the values and not so much in others. Last night, was one of the nights, I wasn’t so proud of, “middle American values.” I saw other people walk away from an issue by obviously omitting dad.
If you need something at 10 o’clock at night in my hometown you only have two real choices, Wal-Mart or a convenience store. I chose the convenience store because it was close and I am not a huge fan of Wal-Mart. When I drove into the parking lot I had to wait for a parking spot. As I waited, I noticed a man pacing back and forth with two small boys next to him. I watched as people walked by him without saying a word. I didn’t know yet that all of those people were obviously omitting dad.
I was lucky enough to park right next to the stranger and his children. He was pacing in front of a parked car so I assumed it was his (thinking always gets me in trouble.) As a social worker, I know how important it is to listen, so as I walked by I said hello to his boys and heard him telling someone on the phone he needed a ride. I thought to myself he must have car trouble and that I would check on him and his boys when I came back out of the store.
Listening is important
I was only in the store a few minutes, made my purchases and left. The amazing thing about a convenience store at night is people don’t waste time, they want to go home. As I walked back towards my car, I found it odd that the small children and the man were still there but no car in sight. I unlocked my door to put my things in the car and then I spoke to the father.
As I asked the father if he was okay I could tell he was hesitant to speak to me. “Are you and the boy’s okay?”
He answered me quickly, “Yeah, thanks! Everything is good!”
He never stopped looking towards me trying to figure out my intent. As a father, it’s never easy to tell people bad things but if given the right opportunity we will, “Okay, I just wanted to make sure that everything was okay with you and your family. I know you have been outside since I got here.”
Being empathetic come natural to me and I believe he now knew this and said, “Well, things have been better for us.”
During our conversation I discovered he was a single, out-of-work dad and they had been left there earlier (a soon to be ex-friend.) They were waiting on a ride to pick them up and his luck had to get better. I am not rich and don’t have a lot to offer but I offered him a ride that he declined. I thought of my son and I asked him if his boys would like the candy bar I had just bought for myself. He first said no but changed his mind and thanked me for stopping and listening to him. He told me they had sat there for over half and hour and no one had spoken to him. All he had received from anyone was some accusatory looks.
Dad’s aren’t always in the background!
Society is just now beginning to accept that a father can become a stay-at-home parent. A man can watch their own children without problems. If we are going to continue to make fatherhood, children and families a priority people have to stop obviously omitting dad.
How to stop obviously omitting dad
1. If you see a man with small children don’t always assume the worst. It might just be a father and his children
2. Don’t look at the dad and automatically say or think “where are the children’s mothers?”
3. Listen before you speak! You might actually learn some father’s need help.
4. Parenting and fatherhood is hard enough. Don’t make it harder on us by giving us dirty looks (even from a distance).
5. Make a person feel good and say something nice.
Value Check Yourself
Middle American values are disappointing me now. I don’t expect everyone to stop and help someone else. It would be nice if at least one person had seen a man with his kids and asked if he was okay, instead he received scornful looks.
Dads are important in a child’s life! What would you do if you saw a strange man with two small children in a parking lot? Have you ever seen people obviously omitting dad from things? Tell me more in the comments about how we can think about dads in a positive manner first! Check out Andi-Roo at TheWorld4Realz who is writing about a month of controversy in the A to Z +1 August blogging challenge with me! Today is the letter “O” for Obviously Omitting Dad!
Thursday August 23rd – Dads of Divas will feature me in their series Dads in the Limelight
Tags: american values
, middle america