There seems to be this trend on social media lately. It’s the sharing of still shots, or even videos, of “great dads” who are “caught” letting their tween paint their toenails or curl their hair, or dancing to Taylor Swift with their adorable two-year-old. This stuff goes viral. They are somehow elevated to a status worth extraordinary praise, because they’re being a fun and interactive parent.
This stuff does not hit me in the feels. Because first, it’s what normal, everyday parenting should look like. In most cases, what’s shared doesn’t go above or beyond what we should naturally find ourselves doing and being with our kids. Second, and most, my feels have experience that tells me what you see is not always the truth. What you glimpse in a passing moment can so easily be put-on, doctored, a pretense.
What matters is what’s behind the shot. What matters more than anything else is how this parent interacts with their kid when there isn’t an audience.
I’m not trying to be a buzzkill. Likely, these dads are being authentic. They’re in the moment, doing something to make their kid happy, and enjoying it themselves, too. That’s awesome. More power to ’em for doing what successful parenthood requires. But I’m not convinced across the board that this instantaneously qualifies them as a good dad. (The trend is with fathers… you don’t see these kinds of touted posts with moms). If that’s not what your parenting approach looks like behind closed doors, you’re doing it wrong.
Some parents are all about the facade. What matters to them is the persona they get everyone to believe, instead of having an honest and meaningful, involved, supportive and encouraging relationship with their child.
So when a photo of this nature comes through my feed I view it with skepticism. I’m not going to rush to think “this guy is the best dad ever.” Show me what he’s like when there isn’t a camera in the room.
Not everyone feels the way I do, and that’s fair, it’s just I have a certain perspective backed by experience that shapes my opinion.
Just go be a good dad at home. It can happen quietly, and it doesn’t need — and is not validated by — everyone’s attention. Or a million hits.
What do you think?