For most of my life, I have heard the term child support. To me, when I heard it, there always seemed to be a consistent theme. Whether it was during my childhood in Jamaica, growing up in Houston, Texas or living as an adult in Miami, Florida, the term child support was always used in a negative sense. How often have we seen headlines of a deadbeat dad who’s been jailed for not paying child support? In mid-2010 I saw the news headline, “World’s Worst Deadbeat Dad Jailed for Owing over $200,000 in Back Child Support.” There always seemed to be a negative connotation with that term.
But I go beyond that to ask the questions: Will I be there to mentor my child? Will I be there for her emotionally? Will I teach her the life lessons that have guided me? Will I help her with homework or go to PTA meetings? Will I be there as she begins dating to help her know the qualities she should look for in a man?
If I am absent from her life yet I make timely child support payments, to me, I am the ultimate deadbeat dad. Money can never buy the love and affection of our kids. Our kids are not problems that we just throw money at and they get solved.
I know men personally who struggle every time they write that check because they see it as them writing a check to their ex and in their view, she doesn’t deserve it. So let me share these words of encouragement – our children are our children. They have always been and will always be our children. Their mothers might put us through the wringer, as the expression goes, but our children are ours. Let’s support and take care of them – financially, emotionally and in every other possible way.
So as I close this post let me reiterate the answer to the question “Is paying child support a privilege or punishment?” It is the privilege of a lifetime! Today, my daughter is a well-adjusted 12 year old. She lives with my wonderful new wife and me. We now have a 5 month old son. And guess what? I pay my child support 24/7/365. My kids are my world and I enjoy every moment of being with them.
I often say that I do support fathers’ rights. But prefer to think of fatherhood as a privilege. What an awesome responsibility it is! I hope that each of us – dads and moms alike – embraces the concept of 24/7/365 child support because it leads to successful, well-adjusted kids of whom we can all be proud.
Enjoy a wonderful and productive day.
The Upbeat Dad