for release June 15, 2001
by Melodie Davis
More on Family Men
Last month -- writing about marriage -- I wrote about how heartwarming it is to observe a man who obviously loves and nurtures his children. Apparently I'm not alone in that thought.
Actually I probably didn't really reveal anything terribly new. Any bachelor hoping to hook up with a woman only need "borrow" a friend's stroller and baby (as in baby-sitting) and push it through a park. Said bachelor will quickly find himself surrounded by an adoring gaggle of women, I'm told.
One reader from Manitoba wrote, "[Your article] reminded me of my five-year-old daughter's dance recital. The kids asked the teacher if the parents could get involved. So the teacher suggested that the parents join them in the final stretching routine. Unfortunately I was wearing a dress so my husband went up. It is so appealing to see him doing things like that. Here was this well-built muscular, extremely handsome man trying to touch his toes. Okay, so I love his appearance. It was so sexy. Men need to be told how sexy it is when they are playing with their children."
So there you have it.
In the column, I also praised men for the hard work they do in earning a living and parenting. Paul commented by e-mail, "As the father of four daughters who gives all he has, and who tries to live Deuteronomy 6 [teaching children respect and obedience] and the Proverbs before his girls, thank you for that encouragement. It is worth it after all, isn't it! While staying at a family friend's house, my friend overhead my daughter say to his, "I want to marry a man just like my dad." So do I [want that for my daughter]. And I think she will. So, I want to be the kind of man that I want my daughter to marry. No matter what it costs me personally. I may miss a ball game on TV or another show. They won't be teaching my grandchildren about God. So I will never make a million dollars. I have million dollar kids. I have made the hard realization that there is no such thing as "free time;" it always costs someone, somewhere. I choose to invest it in my wife and children [and my faith]."
Jim writes: "I have two great kids, almost 20 (yes, twins) and I think they are mostly great because they have a great Mom, but maybe they have a pretty good Dad, too." If this column helps just one more Dad recognize their contribution in parenting, it will be a great Father's Day.
>From the Fiji islands, a father wrote: "I was so touched by your experience because I too have been in that situation, finishing work late at night and reaching home with my wife tired; all I could help [with] was to baby-sit my 11 -month-old daughter. To me, it's just a sixth sense to do that because ... 'the best way for Moms and Dads to endear themselves to each other is to both work hard at nurturing and shaping the children' as you had mentioned."
A woman writes: "I wholeheartedly agree with you that 'the best thing you can do for your children and yourself is to put extra effort into making your marriage work.' My own parents were divorced when I was 15, and although they remarried each other three months later, there were many scars. I thank God for the grace to endure and to work things out together.
I'm so grateful that my own parents are together today. They are supposed to grow old together."
Greg writes, "Thank you for this message. There is someone out there that appreciates the job we as fathers try to do!"
Maybe you're a natural at this father thing or maybe you still need some help. A new book, The Amazing Dad, appears to have lots of easy and fun plans when your own storehouse of ideas runs low. In the book, co-authors Giovanni Livera and Ken Preuss, a magician and middle school teacher respectively, provide sketches of how to do simple kid-pleasing tricks, how to build forts, sand castles, snowmen, ideas for car travels, and making stuff out of everyday items (Perigee Books, 2001).
Another book somewhat in the same vein is Why Would I Want The Toy, When I Can Have The Box? 101 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Children With The Least From Your Wallet (Rex Bowlby, Pacific Horizon Press, 2000). Perhaps one of these would still be a timely gift for father's day.
If you have more fathering stories to share, I'd love to hear from you. Send to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
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