dad from day one: The Magical Mystery Tour… For Babies

Week 3.


In the aftermath of four baby showers, it’s easy for me to see that Jack has been well cared for by friends and family.  One of my favorite items of his is his pair of “vitamin socks” (featured above).  Maybe they’re supposed to look like little capsules from Dr. Mario; I don’t know.  But the fact that they have the word “vitamins” on the bottom of them makes them so classically random that I wouldn’t be surprised if they were designed in Taiwan.  My favorite part of his vitamin socks is that we have no idea where they came from.  We pull just pulled them out of his drawer one day and had them on Jack’s feet before we realized how hilarious and mysterious they are.

My parents recently bought Jack a swing, which is best for helping in to take long afternoon naps.  It has these three bears that fly around in circles over him.  Sometimes I feel that the things that work best for making him happy are the ones that make him feel like he’s tripping through the outer space of an alternate baby universe.  It doesn’t help that as he is swinging back & forth and up & down that “Sun King” from The Beatles’ Abbey Road album is playing in the background as I speak to him in a low voice right into his ear, “Jaaaack… I am your fah-ther…”  And when he’s not in his swing, it’s still so natural just to pick him up and fly him through the air like he’s Superbaby.

With some of his toys, I have been surprised at how they actually do what they are supposed to do.  We regularly use a Sleep Sheep that along with music and rain sounds, also has a “whale button”.  The harmonious conversations of actual whales at sea do indeed soothe Jack, even if they sort of freak me out.  There’s also this star we received that displays ocean scenes on the ceiling while playing our choice of either lullabye music or makes water sounds.  I never would have thought it to be the kind of toy we would actually use every single day, but it is: It works.  When it’s time for him to settle down for the night, we turn on the star and Jack becomes both mesmerized and hypnotized.

Being a baby must really be a trip…  I mean, what would you think if everyone talked to you in a high-pitched, slow motion voice and when you looked down at your feet, you realized they had turned into puppy dog heads?

Good Men Still Exist; They Just Don’t Make the Headlines as Easily

“The handy thing about being a father is that the historic standard has been set so pitifully low.” -Michael Chabon, Manhood for Amateurs

Yes, everyone is well aware that despite all the good men in history who have left a good name for themselves (along with plenty of quotable quotes, with many of them being strong military leaders or respected writers), there are enough deadbeats, scoundrels, and cads to cast a negative connotation on the word “man”.  Women are expected to be saints and givers; sadly, men are expected to be… well, not a lot is expected of men anymore.  But not all good men are long gone.

In the aftermath of Father’s Day last week, the Internet was full of freshly published articles about the modern man, father, and husband.  Two in particular really got my attention.  The first one reviewed the history of TV dads from Leave It to Beaver, to Married with Children, to Parenthood.  It brought out the fact that in the 1950’s, dads were too perfect, in the 1990’s they were often portrayed as bumbling idiots, and now in the 2010’s, TV dads have finally began to look more like real dads.  See http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/37758834/ns/today-entertainment/.  (Though I would argue that the 1980’s were good to TV dads…)

The other article that really got me thinking was one I found on Stuff Christians Like, http://stuffchristianslike.net/2010/06/the-wild-difference-between-a-mothers-day-sermon-and-a-fathers-day-sermon/, which explained how many fathers in Christian churches feel miserable on Father’s Day Sunday because the sermon is about how men need to step up to the plate and be better fathers, while the Mother’s Day sermon provides nothing but praise for women. 

I definitely see how good men often don’t get the praise they deserve.  Like Zack Morris once said on Saved by the Bell when Jessie declared that all men are jerks, “Hey, don’t judge us by our worst specimens.”  What can we do to enhance the minority of men who are truly good fathers, husbands, and hard-working citizens?

My guess is to call them out on their goodness when you see it.  It seems that if we as a culture began to celebrate the men who are doing right, it would be more of an incentive for those who are just half-way doing it, seeing there is praise and appreciation for being a “good man”.  But when the goal is simply to be better than Charlie Sheen (both the actual person and his fictionalized character on the totally lame yet successful sitcom Three and Half Men), there’s a certain lack of motivation to become a better man. 

In an age where stereotypes of men who are drug to church by their wives end up jumping in a 15 passenger van for a weekend trip to their nearest major sports arena to learn from a former NFL player at a Promise Keepers conference that they should spend more time with their kids instead of watching sports games and that they should share the household responsibilities with their wives and stop looking at pornography on their home computers, then they go back home a changed man for a month, then repeat the process each following year, there are still plenty of men in America who actually already are indulging themselves in being the husbands and fathers they need to be.  There are actually good men in America who don’t have to be reminded to be good.  Because they are already aware of the reward in being a respected man who lives for his family, not himself.

Celebrate the good men in your life.  They may instantly brush aside your compliments or seem embarrassed when you do, but inside it means the world to them.  Of course with good men being the coveted gem in a parking lot full of gravels, my guess is, you already do.