Friday, October 1, 2010

The Story Behind The Upbeat Dad

Welcome to the Upbeat Dad. This blog has been years in the making. Wanna know why? Here’s the story:

In late 2001, I went through a very difficult period during which I saw my marriage end. As disappointing as that experience was, even more disappointing, was knowing that my 3 year old daughter would experience the effects of a broken home. My parents have been happily married for over 40 years so this experience was new for me. And I really hurt for my daughter. I was really ill-equipped to lead her through what was unchartered territory for me. And at that age, she couldn't understand all that was happening.

I didn't know of any type of support groups for other men who shared my experience so figured I'd go online. At the time, the internet was just becoming popular throughout the business world. Names like Google and Yahoo, were just becoming household names. I searched quite a bit and finally I was able to come across a few websites for fathers who shared my experiences. One gentleman, whose name I wish I remembered, gave me some advice that has truly revolutionized my life. His words to me were, "Don't let this experience cause you to become a bitter dad; let it make you a better dad."

At the time, I didn't realize how life-changing those words would have become. I began thinking about the fact that a marriage that I thought would last, just ended. But my role as father was sealed, signed and delivered. That fact could never change. I thought, "Why don't I invest my time to ensure I'm the best dad that I can be." I also began to look at the bigger picture. In the United States, over 50% of first marriages end in divorce. And many of those marriages produced children who become innocent victims - collateral damage, if you will.
So I decided at that point, to try to reach out to parents who were like me - divorced with children. And being a father, I particularly had a certain passion to encourage fathers to hang in there and just focus on being the best dads possible.

I began meeting others - moms and dads - who shared their unique perspectives as they learned how to be parents after divorce. It was during that time that I began writing letters and poems about parenting through divorce. These were not necessarily based on my experience but on what I heard from others. Some of my writings are from the perspective of parents, while others are from the perspective of children.

I have pondered over the past several years how best to share these thoughts with others. On several occasions, I’ve had speaking engagements to different parenting groups. The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelming – as others have shared how they’ve been encouraged with the message.

As I mentioned, I have a special passion for fathers. I’ve become more aware of the larger community of fathers in our society. Many are happily married. Others are single; others divorced; others are widowers. Some have adopted children. Some have never even met their own fathers. But they are all fathers and they have the opportunity to impact the lives of their kids for their betterment.  

Unfortunately, there are also “deadbeat dads.” They’re uninvolved in the lives of their children. They provide no support or mentoring for them, leaving the mothers or other relatives to care for them. My vision is to teach and encourage fathers to be enthusiastic about their involvement in their kids’ lives – hence the term “upbeat dad.”

With the increasing popularity of the internet – i.e. social media networks, blogging – I believe the timing is right to share this message with this worldwide audience. As you read this blog, you will get tips on how to be an upbeat dad. I will incorporate some of my experiences, the experience of others, as well as current events, into the blog.

I encourage you to become a “follower” of the blog and to share it with your friends and colleagues – whether utilizing social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter – or by email. Please “Comment” and share your thoughts. I particularly encourage you to share this with those you know who are going through difficulties during a divorce or separation. Something like this blog is just what I went searching for when I had my experience so long ago.

Oh, and just so you know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I got re-married in early 2009 to a wonderful lady. And even more than that, my daughter, who’s now 12, lives with us. And just 2 months ago, our wonderful son was born! So we’re a happy family and I feel especially blessed to have a loving wife and 2 adorable children. Family is ultimately what life is about and I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to be a husband and father.

Regardless of your specific circumstance at this moment, just know that great days lie ahead. As a father, you’re never alone. There are others cheering you on as you seek to become “upbeat” and impact the lives of your children and thus the next generation. Enjoy reading! I wish you the very best in everything.

The Upbeat Dad


  1. Very inspirational and this BLOG will make a REAL difference and the lives of many Dads, many kids, and many families. As most of us know, the family is the foundation of society. As the family crumbles, so does society. The transformed minds that will emerge as a result of reading this BLOG will transform our society, God willing. Be Blessed !!

  2. Thanks for your kinds words Dubwise. You got it right - family is the foundation of society. I hope the blog is a good tool to impact this generation and generations to come. This conversation is necessary so I look forward to it. Thanks much again!

  3. This is certainly a positive and powerful Blog, dads need to be recognized and acknowledged as an integral part of the family structure. Sadly and for whatever socio-economic reasons, the strategic and clinical exclusion of dads in all spheres of child's development have profoundly created negative effects in global societies these days. Interesting points to note and which are key US stats,..... compared with children who have contact with their fathers, those who don't are:
    5 x more likely to live in poverty
    are twice as likely to engage in criminal activity
    twice as likely to drop out of school
    twice as likely to be abused
    more likely to commit suicide
    more than twice as likely to abuse drugs/alcohol
    more likely to become pregnant as teens

    I say, let us encourage and positively engage that upbeat dad, wherever he is and whoever he is.


  4. Thanks much dwin. I appreciate this feedback much. The blog is the first in a series of things I'm working on to make a difference in this area. "Absentee father syndrome" is truly an epidemic. I hope that through this effort and with the support of perons such as you, we'll see vast improvement. Best regards to you!

  5. PERFECT blog- and very inspirational.

    Society rewards mothers a lot (which it should- mothers are critical to the maturation process for both sons and daughters); but I volunteer in a high school for troubled teens, and I can tell you WITHOUT FAIL that the one consistent theme in all of these young men's lives is the absence of a father.

    Put another way- take the father away, and you have started the recipe that ends too often in disaster for the child.

    Congrats to you- you lift the spirits of fathers everywhere with this project. God bless.

  6. Rodrick, you are on-point with your blog. You bring up so many issues that are known but seldom discussed. I enjoy your candid viewpoint. If only I could encourage my ex-husband, who, for all intents and purposes, is considered a dead-beat dad to read your posts. He would hopefully realize that even though our marriage has ended, his obligation and the blessing of being a father to a wonderful child lasts a lifetime.

  7. Rodrick. This is Amanda from healthy Start. You presented your program last week and I asked you about information in Spanish for the parents of my groups. If you can , please email me at in order to coordinate something if possible. My husband is willing to help with the Spanish speaking population. Thank you

  8. Dad's know the crucial role they play in their children’s lives. They know that nothing is more important than their children growing up with a fighting chance at life. They know that divorce has already stripped their children of countless fundamental necessities. They know that the reality of a broken home is a greatly lowered potential and ability for future success. So, real divorced dads do something about it.

  9. Rodrick,
    As wrote another compelling article about the importance of fatherhood! I love reading your blogs.

    "My vision is to teach and encourage fathers to be enthusiastic about their involvement in their kids’ lives"

    Congrats to you!

  10. great blog!!! God bless you for this and for sure you incourage me and other to be with our sons. thanks!!