Here’s The One Thing All Men Have In Common With Their Dads (Yes, Even You)
Joshua David Stein, the editor-at-large at Fatherly, a New York-based startup that focuses on millennial dads, is a father himself. That puts him in a unique position to talk to other fathers about all the things that impact them – both as dads and men. And whether he found himself sitting across from a famous athlete, author, chef, musician, or a guy simply sitting across from him in a local coffee shop, there’s something he found all dads have in common.
“I think that we all struggle with work-life balance a lot, about being away,” Stein said. “To me, in my personal view, I don’t know if there’s a scientific answer to this, but there doesn’t seem to be a right way or a wrong way to be a parent. It’s how you feel as a parent, how you relate to your actions.”
Stein hosts The Fatherly Podcast, an online talk show that features conversations with celebrity and notable dads and centers on their children and families, and their relationships with their own fathers. The podcast launches its second season in February. The first season featured notables such as filmmaker Ken Burns, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, Hall-of-Fame football player Michael Strahan, Emmy Award winner Sterling K. Brown and artist John Legend among others. In Episode Seven, Stein talks with Mark Barden, the father of Daniel Barden, one of the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He also talked to Fatherly’s Science Editor about the science behind “daddy issues.”
Sure, these aren’t normal dads. Most of them are likely not packing school lunches and most fathers aren’t household names in other people’s homes. But something simple that Stein has uncovered is dads – or maybe men in general – wrestle with the host of insecurities. Am I doing enough? Am I enough? Am I making the right choices for my children? If I could achieve more, have more things, or make more money, would I be happier? Would it make me a better parent?
Stein said he noticed many of the fathers he interviewed, who had been married before they gained fame had gotten divorced and once they had achieved success – however they defined it – would remarry, having refocused on family after zeroing in first on their professional goals. And that observation can actually be valuable for listeners.
“I think a lot of guys struggle with thinking if we were more successful or wealthier or whatever, then our lives would be so much better,” Stein told me. “And yeah, easier maybe … If I had a little more money, it’d be great. But I realized, talking to these guys, that they have a lot of the same issues we have and I think that is useful to our listeners because it can show them what they can spend their time working on.”
Each interview starts with a questionnaire with about 20 questions. Stein said, and says in his podcast, that the most revealing responses come from asking respondents to describe themselves in three words and also to describe their own father in three words.
Strahan described himself as a “fun, understanding, authority figure.” Legend described his father as “very mild-mannered, easy-going and creative.” Colicchio, a judge on Bravo TV’s Top Chef and a father of three, in one of the more poignant responses, described himself as “not good enough.” Gay Talese, considered one of the pioneers of New Journalism and creator of the Netflix documentary, Voyeur, has two adult daughters (55 and 52 years old). Talese, who is now 85, described himself and his father with the words “full-time availability.” For the record, he also said he couldn’t think of any weaknesses or regrets he has as a father.
The questionnaire serves as a jumping off point. Surely every father starts in the same place, full of both excitement and self-doubt. Stein’s podcast hopes to humanize fathers that can seem superhuman by virtue of their fame or notoriety. But upcoming interviews, Stein hopes to broaden the spectrum beyond fatherhood, into other areas like science, technology and social issues, which inevitably make it way to affecting how parents raise children.
One of those interviews included former NFL player Antonio Cromartie, who famously (or infamously) fathered 14 children. After 11 years in pro football, having played for the Charges, Cardinals, Jets, and Colts, is a full-time stay-at-home dad with the docu-series on the USA Network called The Cromarties.
Cromartie was also one of several NFL players to kneel during the playing of the national anthem, leading some to believe that was the reason the Colts cut the former Pro Bowl cornerback. He discussed talking to his kids about player protests and racial inequality.
“He has many sons and we talked about how he talked to them about why he was taking a stand. He talked to his daughters about it too. He also talked about how frustrating it is that owners will take a very active role in advocating for stadiums but not the same active role in advocating for their players. That was an interesting part what we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. My hope is that we can do more of that.”
Source : AskMen.com