Being Present in Fatherhood

Guest post by Brian Durr, Coach at Boot Camp for New Dads class in Seminole County.

Durr Family

The Durr Family

My name is Brian Durr. My wife Karena and I have an 11-month-old little boy, Riley. To me, being a responsible father does not mean I have to be perfect. It comes down to three things: protecting, providing and being present.

I would do anything to protect my boy from what the world will try to teach him. As a dad, if I don’t own up and instill the values that I believe are important for him, then he will get them from what he sees others do and say. I will take my chances with what I teach him. He will come to know that I will bend over backwards to provide for him.

To me providing is way more than just bringing home a paycheck. It means providing time out of my busy schedule to be there for him and to listen to him. It also means showing him how to love and respect a woman both in the home and out in public. There will be times he needs a male role model for guidance, and I will be there for him whether he wants to talk or just hang out.

Out of these three (protecting, providing and being present), the one that jumps out the most is being present. It is vital for a dad to be present in a child’s life. I work in an elementary school that has very low-income students. A good majority of our students grow up with no father and it is very evident. They tend to act out and lack the life skills vital to a successful life.

Since I began teaching the Boot Camp for New Dads class in Seminole County I always start the class with a question: What do you remember about your dad growing up? I always end the class with this question: What do you want your middle school kid to say about you as a dad when they get to your age? The reason I ask these two questions is because the answer almost always boils down to the fact that the men remember their dad being present or not present both physically and emotionally. They almost never mention all of the stuff they got as gifts.

For me, my dad was coaching or watching my games cheering me on. He was not perfect, but he modeled the life skills of integrity, honesty and staying true to my word that have stuck with me to this day. He cheered me on in whatever I chose for myself. If I made a mistake, he disciplined me instead of trying to be my best friend. That is what a good dad does for a child they love. For me as a father, I plan on instilling in my son the values and beliefs that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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