Anytime, I see a dad being a father in public it brings a smile to my face. This picture reminds me of so many times I have seen fathers in stores wrangling their basket full of kids and just trying to hold it together. I do not want to discount how moms do this all the time, but there is something special about seeing a dad be a father in public.
This might be because it reminds me how we are all in the same place. We are learning to do something which scares us, but we have the courage to do the duty we have to our children.
And so, I thought I might share some stories of dads in the wild.
The other day, while I was driving to work I was stopped at a red light. And heading across a crosswalk to my right was this crazy muscular guy pushing a Double Bob Stroller. He was sweating profusely and I realized he was out for a morning run with his kids.
I thought to myself, “maybe I should try that with my girls.”
After all, I am not in great shape like him and I could use the exercise. And shoot, this would limit our morning TV time. Which is probably a good thing.
I continued down the street and came to another red light. While stopped, ‘Strong Dad’ came running up along side me again. This time, I realized there were twin boys in the double bob. And they were not pleased about life. ‘Strong Dad’ was dangling what looked like to baby toys duct taped to a wooden spoon over the top of the stroller.
He looked pretty rough at this point. Exhausted from running, probably running fast to get home and get the boys out of the stroller, and those little lads were really giving him a hard time.
But he stopped at the crosswalk, panting from running and got down at their level and started talking to them with a huge, proud father smile.
Good work ‘Strong Dad,’ thanks for helping me know I won’t be running with my girls in the stroller. But I loved seeing how much you love your boys.
‘Girls Basketball Team Dad’
Some time ago, I was standing in line at a Chipotle or something, and in front of me was a dad who had five girls with him. All of them almost as tall as he was. All of them were clearly his daughters. While he was helping them order their food, he noticed me with my two little girls hanging out and talking about unicorns or fairies.
“Oh man, I remember when my first two were that little,” he said with a grin. “It was an entirely different game then.”
I replied in only the way I could, “I can only imagine.”
“It only gets better, after two, adding more isn’t all that big a deal,” he smiled.
“Well, you seem to have it down to a science and art,” I responded.
“Good, I have everyone fooled.”
Well done, ‘Basketball Team Dad.’ You made it so easy for me to want to have more sweet and spicy little girls in our family. And as my wife put it in a text after the encounter: #DadGoals
‘Jungle Gym Dad’
We have all seen this guy at the grocery store. A child in the ‘kid seat’ in the cart. A child in the cart. One on his shoulders and another one climbing his leg. His t-shirt is stained. His cargo shorts are so full of stuff they are starting to fall down.
But he has a giant smile on his face and a slightly harried tone in his voice as he instructs the one on the cart to sit down for the tenth time. And then attempts to lift the ‘leg climber’ into the cart as well.
People who don’t like kids stare in disbelief. Grandparents smile in a knowing way. And then I stumble across and give and encouraging, “doing great dad.”
I get a smile in return and four little munchkins turn to see who is talking to dad. After looking at my bearded face decide they don’t recognize me and go back to mischief.
In a lot of ways, this is me at the grocery store with only two. My oldest daughter likes to sit in the cart and my two-year-old likes to swipe things off of the shelves if I let her get to close.
This is one of my favorites because it is probably me. This is the dad who is playing pirates, or fairies, or tag running around the play structure at the park. His kids are giggling uncontrollably and he is having a ball too. Everyone is laughing in their little family.
And the rest of us, want to be having as much fun as they are. It spur other kids to try and steal their parents iPhones out of their hands to get their attention. Or for me, I lean in more into my daughters imaginations.
‘Park Dad’ is a ton of fun, but also really great at letting his kids include others and play well with them. That is when he gets to take a break and talk to other parents while making sure his little ones are playing nicely.
Other Dads in the Wild
I have shared a few of my favorite dads in the wild. These are the ones that spur me on to being a better dad or at least I get to see a little of their lives. What are some dads you have seen in the wild? Share in the responses below, and make sure you have a great title for him!