by Tom Watson
Paso Robles, Calif.
October 2, 2011
IS THE ECONOMY KILLING FATHERHOOD?
PASO ROBLES, Calif. -- I know what it's like not to have time to spend with your kids.
It used to sting me when I was working hard at building my business and I'd hear my kids talking about me," he said. "One would ask the other to see if I had time to play with them, and the other would tell him not to bother, because he knew I'd be too busy. It was like a knife in my heart. With the economy as tight as it is, I know that I'm not the only father with the same issue.
These days, many fathers are either unemployed and working hard to find work or they are working two jobs or more just to make ends meet. Either they don't have much time for family, or they just aren't in the mood for family because they are despondent or feeling helpless as a provider."
But it doesn't have to be that way. My tips for dads in a tough economy include:
Life is a choice and the person you choose to be is in your control. No matter the hand you may have been dealt, there are no excuses. I grew up as an orphan and I acted out a lot, because I lacked the guidance of a family until I was finally adopted.
And even when I found stability with my adoptive parents, the Watsons, it took some time for me to settle down. Having shoes on my feet, clothes on my back and food on the table were all good things, but it wasn't those things that soothed me as a child. It was the time, love and attention I received from the Watsons that put me back on course and that's what every child needs.
While it may seem to some that working hard to provide for their families is their primary responsibility as a father, that's just not so. Children are adaptable and can do without material things more easily than they can do without the love and attention of their parents.
If my experience meant anything to me, it showed me that it takes more to be a dad than to just bring home the bacon. It's not enough to just do for your children - you have to be with them, too.
Tom Watson - not the noted golfer - is the author of Man Shoes: The Journey to Becoming a Better Man, Husband & Father.