Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Journey Begins!

Yesterday was the launch of the Upbeat Dad! And it was an extreme success. Just yesterday I joked with someone that the blog and Facebook page got more hits than Lady Gaga! Much thanks to you, the readers, for making this possible. My vision for this project is far reaching – beyond the blog and Facebook page. It’s a worldwide vision – one that I believe will result in many changed lives.
At this point, I see the unfolding of the vision like an airplane. It has just taken off and is rising in altitude. As you’ve heard when you’ve flown “please remain seated until the captain has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign.” We’re headed to an altitude of 30,000 feet and yesterday was just the take off. “Where is our destination,” you may ask? It’s a place where we see more fathers actively involved in their kids lives. And less mothers having to “go it alone.” It’s a place where young children become more respectful to authority and grow into responsible, actively involved members of our society. And so, the journey begins. Hang on for the ride, because I believe we’re headed to a great destination!
Today, my son celebrates the 2nd month of his birth. It was August 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm that he arrived. I recall as I stood there in the delivery room watching him come into the world and taking his first breath, I just thought how I would have never missed that experience for the world. Then I began thinking, how many fathers not only miss that experience but they miss all the formative years of their children’s lives. I recognize that some fathers are bad influences anyway so their absence from their kids’ lives is not a bad thing. But I believe that the vast majority of children would stand to benefit from their fathers’ involvement.
Just yesterday I learned of some disturbing statistics that reaffirm my belief that kids need their fathers to help them develop. For example, students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.  Newsweek magazine stated, “If men were involved fathers, more kids might stay in school…and avoid poverty as adults.”
As a child, I had no choice as far as schooling is concerned. My father was the school principal and my mother a teacher. She actually taught me in the first grade. Though I wasn’t the brightest of students, I knew there were expectations of me to not only succeed in school, but to pursue higher education and become a professional. We were hardly wealthy by any means. But then again, we were because we had the fundamental belief that with education and hard work, anything was possible.
Today I’m a Certified Public Accountant and my parents are retired. My 3 siblings all have post graduate degrees and are successful professionals. And for that I’m so thankful. My mother is absolutely wonderful and I’m sure with her guidance, we would have all become successful. But the presence of our father and his involvement in our development was so instrumental. I know that his leadership made it so much easier for our mother to raise us.

As you may have read in an earlier blog post, I went through a divorce in the early 2000s. My daughter was just 3 at the time. I ensured that no matter what, she would know her father wasn’t going to let her become a victim to the disturbing statistics that result from men neglecting their obligation to their children. It wasn’t easy, particularly in dealing with the legal process when a marriage dissolves. But my view is that children do not ask to come into the world. They are conceived and are born without their consent. Our obligation, therefore is to ensure that they are well taken care of regardless of the situations that arise.
I know many of you have your own unique stories to share. Some are beautiful stories that one would love to share. But I also know that some are horror stories. You can feel free to comment here on the blog or on our Facebook page about any of these issues. I can’t say I’ve experienced all the challenges that some of you may experience. But I do know that there are obstacles that arrive that affect dads, mothers and kids. My hope is that through this effort, we would shield our children from some of the negativity that result from situations that develop in our lives.
Whitney Houston was right when she sang, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how it used to be.” How profound!
 We owe it to them to be our very best so that they have the chance to impact our world for the good. Let’s commit to doing our part so that they realize “the beauty they possess inside.”

The Upbeat Dad

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