It's amazing the perspective one gets talking to countless people about their relationships with their dads. What's been made abundantly clear throughout the ongoing process of making this film is how much of an impact the presence or absence of a dad has on people's lives. The unfortunate picture that keeps getting played out over and over is how many people suffer from either a neglectful or non-existent relationship with their dads. Prior to this project, I really had no clue the extent of this.
Just yesterday my family and I were in attendance at a friend's son's birthday party. We were sitting across from a six-year-old boy eating birthday cake and, without any prompting he looked at me and shared with saddened eyes how his 'dad never comes to these things.'I asked where his father was.
"Working. He's always working."
Seated across the way was just another reason-in-the-flesh about why it's so important to the fate of our society for fathers to be as involved with their kids as they can be. Maybe this kid will grow up okay. Who know? But having a dad (and mom for that matter)around would certainly improve the odds.
Finally, below is a poem that was recently submitted to us that was written by a daughter who never knew her dad at all. In the next few days leading up to Father's Day I will be emphasizing heroic dads who go above and beyond to care for their families, but sometimes the bitter needs to come before the sweet. Anyway, here is the poem....
A Gift for Dear Old Dad
Happy Father’s Day Dad, I know we’ve never met, but I’ll bet the gift I give will be the best one that you’ll get. My gift to you is SILENCE. I know it’s what you want. It’s the one thing that you need to keep your life calm and serene.
It’s a little bit expensive, but don’t worry about the cost. I’ll pay for it a little every day, when I think of you or what you had to say.
Do you remember the day that I called you on the phone? You said to me in a very nasty tone,” I am not your father, and “leave me the hell alone”. There were a few remarks about my mother that I dare not repeat. They were so hurtful; I was left unable to speak.
It took me 34 years to summon the courage to make that call, but in all of 30 seconds I felt like I’d been thrown through a wall. I went to bed, curled up in a ball.
While your wife was home pregnant with twins on the way, you were out with my mother for a night of selfish and sinful play.
I went to school with your children; you know we’re the same age. I was not allowed to tell them, and cause you any shame.
I have lived as your dirty little secret for 45 years. It has warped my self esteem; I’ve cried rivers of tears.
My mother has been dead for 41 years. She went looking for love after too many beers. Her car left the road and flipped in the air. Three children were left to the town’s peoples stares.
You will never acknowledge me. Of this I am sure. And the damage it has caused…there’s really no cure.
I saw your face for the first time today! It was in a newspaper article from far away. The paper reported that you died today. The obituary listed almost all of your kids, the name of your wife, and brief description of your life. The account said you had lived for 76 years. You would be so proud Dad, I never shed a single tear.
This closes the door to a lifelong ache. It felt like the finishing touches of the icing of your cake! Happy Father’s Day…… Your unnamed child.