A Parent Is Born
Published in

A Parent Is Born

The Impact of Fatherlessness

This one day changed my life.

From Pexels (Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas)

When my son was in kindergarten, I signed up to be a class helper for a day.

That basically meant I helped the teacher hand out stuff, walk around and talk to the kids, and run around at recess.

There was a little girl in the class who was my shadow for most of the day.

During class, I spent a fair amount of time working with her on her schoolwork.

She requested that my son and I sit with her at lunch. And play tag together at recess.

At the end of the day, my son got to pick two kids to go with him and me to the library to build some stuff out of Legos.

My son picked his best buddy and, to my surprise, the girl who’d followed me around all day.

On the way to the library, the little girl grabbed my arm and said something I’ll never forget.

“I wish you were my dad. I don’t really know my dad and you’ve been really nice to me today.”

I barely kept it together.

I told her that was very sweet of her and that I’d had a really nice day getting to know her.

Class ended shortly after that.

While my son and I were walking home I asked him why he’d picked the girl to come to the library with us since, as far as I could tell, they weren’t particularly close.

My son — who was 6 at the time — said another thing I’ll never forget.

“She’s usually sad but today she seemed happy so I thought it would be nice for her to come along.”

Again, I barely kept it together.

This one day changed my life.

1. I am now hyper-focused on kindness.

One small act of kindness goes a long way.

Our default setting should be to be kind to everybody.

2. Kids are incredibly perceptive.

My son is my hero. He is such a good kid.

3. It really opened my eyes to the impact fatherlessness has on kids.

It’s one thing to read statistics and it’s another thing to see the impact an absent father had on this child.

As fathers, it’s our responsibility to be present for and engaged with our children.

We can also take it a step further by being there for our children’s friends.

Together, we can fight the incredibly negative impacts of fatherlessness, help children who need a father figure, and truly change the world.

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