Sunday, March 02, 2008

Depressing State of Fatherhood

We just got back from having some noodles and witnessed an
unfortunately very common situation. A father was eating with his 9
year old daughter. He barely said a word to her as he sat and puffed
on his cigarette. About 10 minutes into the meal, he gets up and
walks out of the noodle shop. We figured he went out to get
something and would be right back. Well, about 10 minutes later, I
watched him as he is standing in front of the restaurant....waiting.
Waiting for nobody except for his daughter to finish eating. She sat
there by herself while she finished her noodles and then got up to
meet him outside. I asked her if her father was waiting for her
outside and she said yes. He felt no need actually come in and
relate to her.

A few months ago, we were having our family night at KFC (funny how
your opinion of fine dining changes when you both live overseas and
have 4 small kids). In walks a small group of people. About four 10
year olds and their mothers walk in. Behind them walks the father of
one of the kids. Come to find out, the father of the birthday girl.
They all sat down and were talking, playing, opening gifts, cutting
cake and having a great time. Where did the dad spend the ENTIRE
meal/party? He spent it at another table, eating and reading his
newspaper. He didn't even pretend to want to be there. When the
bill came, he paid, but that's about the extent of his role there.

The state of fatherhood here is utterly depressing. Dads are
disengaged and actually live in separate cities a lot of the time.
Kids are considered the wife's deal and hopefully a way to secure
some retirement money.

But I don't want to pretend that we've got it all together either.
How easy it is to disengage or just relate to our spouse while our
kids are growing up in the background. As we've heard it said, "the
days are long but the years are short."

We all need to soak in our kids. To visibly show them that we want
them around and we want to know how they are processing their little

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