The soul searching, heart-wrenching and second-guessing taking place has to stop. It’s time for dads to apply a heavy dose of common sense and bravado so we can all get on with life.
When you read the headlines that appear on some father-related websites and social feeds, it seems like half of them cater to deep-seated insecurities. Did I make the right decision? Should I follow the crowd’s advice? How can I be sure if I know what’s best for my child?
I worked in the publishing world for years. The media properties I represented prompted readers to question their insecurities. It was not deliberate, but for the editor, it represented a way to hook readers and get them to click and engage in a story.
At the end of these soul-searching articles, the editor promotes themselves like a knight in shining armor. They bestow their wisdom upon the reader or simply reinforced the most logical decision a reader would have made in the first place. How touching.
Here’s a suggestion for dads who find themselves reading these kinds of stories and second-guessing their decision process. Let’s collectively set John Wayne as a refreshed modern-day role model.
The characters he played were gruff, straight talking, no-nonsense heroes and if there’s one thing he espoused it was common sense. Nine times out of ten, this philosophy works when it comes to raising kids.
John Wayne, a.k.a. ‘The Duke’ spoke plainly so he was understood without exception. Even a two-year-old watching one of his movies can understand his point of view. His opinion was often voiced using as little as three words. That, in many cases, is all that is required when it comes to disciplining toddlers.
The Duke didn’t consult the voices in his head when they second guessed what he thought was right. Yes, they were probably there… pounding away for him to consider the emotional long-term consequences. Common sense ruled his world and those he interacted with.
He had zero tolerance for bullshit; he stated his mind and if some bushwhacking criminal tried to do harm… he decked him.
Oh, if life were that simple! But we’re discussing how to be a level-headed father so let’s take physical violence out of the picture. The point is, your first instinct is usually the right one and if you make a mistake, apply common sense and course correct moving forward.
All dads make mistakes. Own up to it, admit it was wrong when it happens and learn from your experience.
The second thing about the characters John Wayne played (and is worthy of respect) is how he treated women: with dignity, courtesy and he acted like a gentleman. Yes, his characters were set in the wild west where women were subservient to men. Let’s revise this role-model element for the modern era. Treat women as equals with… dignity, courtesy and conduct yourself like a gentleman.
When a man becomes a parent, there’s a whole new set of skills one must procure to be an effective father. When you apply a no-nonsense, level-headed philosophy and speak plainly so everyone understands you, it simplifies things. You’ll spend less time worrying.
The only John Wayne attribute to exclude from this suggestion?
Let’s face it, I don’t see someone like The Duke roughhousing and having fun with kids but it’s an important part of the parent/child bonding experience. Make your kids laugh, share adventures and lighten up once in a while to show your softer side. When it’s time to straighten up the toys, discipline and conduct yourself like ‘The Duke.’