Thursday, September 18, 2014

Renaissance Dads

Renaissance: re-nais-sance. n. :a period of new growth or activity.  (French word for "re-birth"). 

Let's face it, being a dad today is different than it was for my dad and his dad. I wouldn't say it is more difficult because the task of being a hero, a role model, a faith instructor, a teacher, a coach, a dicisplinarian, a drill sergeant, a mechanic, a gardener, a punching bag, a sensei, a confidence builder, and a how-to-treat-women instructor has always been a tall task for every man daring to attempt success at Fatherhood.

The difference is the wired and connected world we live in raises the stakes for each task we face as dads. On one hand we have increased access to knowledge so we are better equipped to succeed (Youtube has saved me thousands on car repairs), and on the other hand we are bombarded with the images and stories of dads who are more fit, more stylish, more successful, and who have perfect kids. The connected world has allowed us, or possibly compelled us, to expand our interests and develop in multiple disciplines as we read stories and see images of our peers being loving husbands, involved fathers, gourmet chefs, professional coaches, expert travel agents, community activists, and all-around-perfect people. Filtering through the noise and learning to be the best version of who we are (and not what we see in others) is the most important and perhaps the most difficult thing in this era of information overload.

During the Renaissance of the 15th Century in Europe, mankind was experiencing a "re-birth" of culture as great gains in science and the arts led to another explosion of information. This new access to a range of information led to the existence of the "Renaissance Man". This was a person who acquired knowledge across multiple disciplines rather than simply focusing on one area of expertise.

Fatherhood in the 21st Century is experiencing the same re-birth that occurred in the 15th Century.  We live in a world where the lines of traditional gender roles are blurred and where equality and independence are prized. The new reality compels us to pursue our own interests while at the same time it calls us to look for ways to support our wives and our kids as they pursue the things that make them thrive.

The task of supporting our kids and wives, as well as pursuing our own interests, leads modern dads to a broader range of experiences. A typical week for me often includes coaching baseball, cooking dinner, praying with my boys, being the homework police, fixing something on the car, reading with my boys, surfing with my friends, walking on the beach with my wife, volunteering at the school, working in the yard, and watching "Burn Notice" with my oldest son. All of this does not even mention the routine tasks at home or work. (I know the women out there will say this is what many of them have been doing since time began but this site is about dads so please sustain judgment for the time being.)

This variety in the week is the same for most of my friends experiencing Fatherhood. We are Renaissance Dads who get to, and often are required to, acquire knowledge and experience across disciplines. It is part of the process of loving our wives and our kids and it is often more rewarding than sacrificial.  Being a Renaissance Dad is a challenging and rewarding endeavor but one that real men, modern men, will embrace with fervor.

So welcome to this site about Renaissance Dads. Laugh with us at our failures, find encouragement from our stories, and accept the challenge to be a man and do what it takes to love and support the people in your life that God has blessed you with. Feel free to join the conversation and be a part of the re-birth of Fatherhood.

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