OK, moms, we need your help. We’re pleased to be receiving feedback from you because you read the lifestyles section of your local newspaper and have seen us there. Or you’ve come to one of our workshops on helping your husband make better connections with your teen. But you have to help us reach dad. We suggest that you pull out our column or copy our blog and ask dad to spend a couple of minutes reading. We appreciate hearing from you—honest we do. We’d also like to hear what’s on his mind.
We know that dads grab the sports section and maybe scan the headlines in the main section. We also know that dad isn’t going to gravitate easily to lifestyles where we usually appear and where he can pick up tips on gardening, making banana bread and cleaning the garage. So, Mom, you’ve got to steer him in our direction. Maybe he’ll slowly but surely recognize himself in some of what we have to share.
When we sat together over lunch years ago, we didn’t just start spewing out our frustrations about our teenage sons and daughters. It was a gradual discovery because we felt self-conscious and maybe even a little guilty about our feelings. We were pretty sure we were the only dads who thought their teenager ought to show more gratitude. That didn’t feel right; yet that’s how we felt. We wanted to hear “thank you” more often because, doggone it, we’d sacrificed a lot.
When we confessed that sentiment to each other over gyro salads, we each immediately perked up and admitted we sometimes felt the same way. We were pleasantly surprised to know that there were two of us in the universe who felt unappreciated. If it was a show of insecurity, at least we were no longer shouldering that burden alone. We were equally insecure. We were beginning to like our lunch chats.
This Ain’t No Bull
After talking with other fathers, we discovered that there are a lot of dads out there who would appreciate some show of gratitude from their teenagers. Our focus groups reminded us of those bull sessions we used to have in college when the guys would gather in someone’s room and no subject was off limits. The conversations and confessions lasted into the wee hours.
That’s why we launched our enterprise. Grown-up guys don’t have a dorm room to gather and shoot the breeze. There just aren’t many opportunities for dad to let his hair down and speak frankly with other dads. He may not have time. He may not want to. He may want to but not know how to express what he feels. He may not stop long enough to think about what he feels.
Mom, we appreciate you. Keep reading us. And if you don’t see our column, ask your paper to carry it. And encourage that guy in your life to read us, too. We’d like to know what’s on his mind.