Nelson Camp is a pal I met a few years ago when we both, along with our spouses, volunteered in our church's creative events department. I had the pleasure of directing Nelson in a couple of skits and brainstorming with him and his wife on many scripts. From the start I was impressed by Nelson's calm presence, his ability to see the logical course in nearly any situation and his compassionate nature. It has been a pleasure to watch Nelson move from being husband/teacher/care free guy into being a hands-on, totally sold out and engaged dad. Here are a few of Nelson's thoughts on his changing role ... enjoy!
A Dad's Role
As I look through the closet, I see the dreaded Tupperware container that is dedicated to the family hats – tuques, ball caps, bandanas, wide brims, and visors – something for any kind of weather we may get. I say “dreaded” because it is so full of hats that it’s always a challenge to go through it and find the exact hat you are looking for – there must be at least 30 or 40.
There are days when I feel the same “dread” when looking at the different hats that I have to wear as a man. The hat of a husband, a father, an employee, an entrepreneur, a landlord, a friend, a son, a sibling, a neighbour….There are so many hats to wear in a single day that I sometimes find myself wearing the wrong hat in the wrong situation. For all the wonderful changes that have taken place to women and the roles they play in society, it is important not to forget that a man’s role has also changed as a direct consequence. Men are no longer seen as simply being the provider and protector of the household; we need to be able to cook, wield a broom or mop, be adept at serving a bottle to a baby, being a comforter to our spouse, while still being able to cut the lawn, take out the trash and coach the little league team.
More and more, we are seeing men take paternal leaves to care for children and even being a “stay at home dad” in some cases. The cliché James Dean macho role that was status quo for so many decades has gone the way of the dinosaurs as men learn to take on more responsibilities at home in raising children and tending to domestic responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hold any animosity towards vacuuming or washing the dishes, but sometimes, adding all these duties to a full-time career fills a 24 hour day with a 40 hour to-do list.
Although I haven’t yet figured out all the intricacies of scheduling a day where I can be the perfect husband, dad, and professional all in one, I have discovered how important it is to stick to the priorities; putting first things first, and leaving the details aside. At the end of the day, when I tuck my kids into bed and kiss my wife good night, I know that I did my best to make these precious gifts the most important part of my day.
Now, off to prepare tomorrow’s supper in the slow cooker….