Dads, We See You.

We see you at the pool playing in the splash pad with your little one.

We see you at Donuts with Dad before school, dressed for work and trying not to check your phone, but making sure you show up for your kids.

We see you at the grocery stores, wheeling carts and kids, doing what you can to help.

We see you dressed in a sports uniform, out for ice cream after coaching your kids games.

We see you trying to teach your kids love and discipline. Trying to help them with a healthy balance of nature and nurture.

I first saw you at an amusement park. Sitting, head in hands, waiting for your family to come off of a ride. Beer next to you. It was 9am and you were done. The trip obviously was not going how you had hoped.

For awhile our culture set the bar pretty low for dads. “Just show up” was the plea. But something happened when these dads starting showing up…they started caring. They started getting involved. They started being active, and present.

Maybe becoming a dad has opened my eyes to the struggles of other parents and fathers. My judgment upon parents with screaming kids in public settings was squashed when I personally experienced the helpless feeling of not being able to control the emotions and actions of a 5 year old while the world watched.

So over the last several years, while traveling, I took an approach of noticing. Not staring, not judging, just noticing. Noticing when dads are being present, and when they are not. Noticing the reactions of their partners and their kids. And I would say, of my casual research, that there are a lot of men who are doing more than showing up; they are doing their best.

Do fathers fail? Yes, and they will again.

But I think the dads are winning. More and more, with intentionality, being present, and our now accepted dad bods; the tides are turning in our country.

So this Father’s Day, I want you to know Dads, we see you. We see your efforts. We see your plans. We see you are trying. And we see your heart. So take your head out of your hands, stand up straight, put a smile on your face, and be present with your kids. Smile. Keep up the good work. You are building something bigger than yourself. You’re building the future.

The author, with his daughters, at the White House Easter Egg Roll