Imagine yourself sitting at home, sitting on the couch, enjoying a bowl of popcorn or chips or whatever late night snack you have. Now imagine your T.V. is on, and it has a sitcom or movie playing, one based on the nuclear family: dad, mom, a couple of kids, and maybe a dog. Recognize what exactly you’re watching. What movie? What sitcom? What is it about this particular one that makes it come to your memory now? Now take a moment, and focus in on the dad character. What is he like? Describe him. Does he seem like the usual “dad” on every show, or is he different?
Often in any television or streaming program the dad is a big dud. An episode of a family sitcom doesn’t seem to be complete unless the dad is ignorantly insensitive or horrendously inappropriate.
I know that many of us have already been introduced to this concept before, the idea that dads are dumb when it comes to family and struggle to solve family issues sensitively.
I’ve heard it said before that if you are told something over and over again (such as, “You’re an idiot!”) you begin to believe that is true about yourself. I don’t know about you, but I find truth in that within my own life.
Whether or not I believe the fallacy that dad’s lack empathy or aren’t as smart as moms that I see resonating in what we often watch, I can’t blame what I watch for how I view myself. Why? Because I believe in the lies I tell myself more than I believe the lies I watch on T.V.
Before you leave me because you think this is a self help rant where if you just “believe than you’ll receive”… If that were true I believe there is a brand new Taylor 614ce sitting on my bed right now (I’m crossing my fingers right now). By the way, that’s an acoustic guitar. Stay with me.
I believe in the lies I tell myself because I’m the one telling them. It’s easy to shrug off other people’s narratives about who you are and what you’re supposed to be. Yet, I hear my inner voice constantly telling me how inadequate I am as a dad, as a husband, in my career/job, and everywhere in between.
I believe the lies I tell myself because they are true. Kind of. There is always some sort of truth in a lie. That’s what makes a lie so good at being effective. I yelled at my son yesterday, and today it hurts to know that I was out of line (even if the little stinker was persistent). So I’ll spend half the day thinking, “Why do I suck at being a dad?”
I believe the lies I tell myself because they are consistent. These aren’t just some random thoughts, but they are thoughts I think on a daily or weekly basis. Again, I repeat them to myself, so they begin to seem true of me. I tell myself I’m a “bad dad” because I didn’t spend enough time with my kids over the weekend. Then “bad dad” hangs in my mind until I get dad slapped out of it.
What’s the solution? That’s what I’m still trying to navigate. A dad of seven years, and I find more times of disappointment than satisfaction in this area. As hopeless as that sounds, I have found a major part of the solution. I think the number one place we can put energy into as we work to eliminate the “bad dad” lies we tell ourselves is in taking part in a community of fellow dads who desire to be better dads. Instead of believing the consistent, skewed lies we tell ourselves, we need to listen to the encouragement and testimonies of dads who have been in the similar stages as us to help us navigate the water we now sail, with the hope to come out further ahead then we would the been without their guidance.
How has media painted the picture of dad for you? How do you view “dad” in the culture? Where do you turn for advice as a dad? Would you be interested in being part of a group of dads? I’d love to hear your answers!
Guest Blog Author:
Neil Sierocki is a husband, dad-of-three, follower of Christ, and the Pastoral Resident at Our Redeemer Church in Midland, MI. Neil has spent the past ten years working with students (ages 11-19) as a mentor and pastor. He is currently working with the Bay-Arenac Great Start Collaborative to kickstart the fatherhood initiative, Great Start Dads.
Read more from Neil:
Great Start Dads VIRTUAL MEETING: