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

About this Blog

theupbeatdad is for dads of all kinds. But it's especially for dads who've gone through a divorce or somehow are otherwise faced with situations that make it difficult to be dads.

I've been through challenges in this area, some of which I'll mention as time goes on. So I can definitely relate to some of these experiences. The goal in all this is to become better dads, not bitter dads, from these experiences. It's easier said than done, I know, but it's ultimately better for you when you do so.

We often hear the term "deadbeat dad". But I encourage you to become an "upbeat dad", one who's enthusiastic about being "dad" and who's involved in the lives of his child(ren). That's a reward unlike any other - helping to shape and mold the life of people who will be the future of our world.

I hope that as you read, you'll be encouraged and inspired. And that your enthusiasm will never waver. Be "upbeat" about the awesome role that you play!