Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Thankful Campaign: Thankful for the Journey

Today, NFI is launching The Thankful Campaign to celebrate fathers and families. We're asking daddy bloggers, prominent fathers, and everyday dads to share what they're thankful for and how they're raising grateful kids. We're kicking off our campaign with a guest post from Dave Taylor. Dave is a single dad to three kids, based in Boulder, Colorado. Dave blogs about parenting and fatherhood at The Attachment Parenting Blog, and you can find him just about everywhere online. Start here to make your journey easier, though:

This is going to sound weird in this season of Thanksgiving, but I want to share how I am thankful for pretty much everything that's happened in my life, good and bad. I'm a single dad in a world where moms are lionized and us guys are deadbeats or just plain idiots, according to contemporary culture, so I see a lot of the good and bad around us. Am I thankful for that? Well, that's another story, but I will say that it's helpful in that I get a lot of positive feedback about what a great, attentive Dad I am because it's portrayed as atypical.

Look, guys, it's easy to be thankful for good things, but what about the bad? What about those experiences that, yeah, truthfully, it'd be better if you hadn't gone through them? I'm thankful for those, too.

The reason I'm thankful for everything is because I like where I am now in my life. I have a successful business, three great kids who are growing up just fine and who love me -- and whom I love immensely -- and I have the freedom to create a life for us in a way that I wasn't able to do when I was married or prior to my marriage (when I didn't have kids, for one thing).

I don't know if this is some sort of Zen thing or what, but we are all the product of our journeys and none of us would be exactly who we are today if we hadn't experienced everything in our lives, both good and bad. Life is about trade offs, after all. I had a difficult marriage that was more characterized by disagreement and unsatisfying interaction than warm fuzzies, but I got three amazing children out of the experience, in a way that was completely transformative for me as a man, so I will forever be thankful for my ex and our continued mostly smooth co-parenting efforts to raise three fun, happy, productive members of society.

Not too many people know this, but as a kid I was pretty darn shy and didn't go to my senior prom because I was too gawky and clueless to ask a girl to the dance. Am I thankful for that? Yes, because it gave me the motivation to become an outgoing extrovert when I got to college, and that was a great experience that really set me on the path I'm on now, with tons of friends, a vast social circle, and party invites every weekend.

Here's another thing I'm thankful for too: computers and social networks. Yes, if it wasn't for Twitter and Facebook, the last few years would have been far more difficult, as I found myself sitting around in a barely-furnished townhouse wondering where my domestic life and my kids had gone. Being able to connect with others and make online friends to shoot the breeze with made it much more tolerable and gave me plenty to laugh at and appreciate -- glimmers of light in a long, dark tunnel that I'm also thankful to have finally escaped.

My point with this article is to be thoughtful on this season of thanksgiving about how it's more than our friends and family that we can be thankful for. I am, of course, thankful for my friends and family, but I think that my life is a journey, along which it's my challenge to make the best of it, to find happiness, love, humor, fun, etc., and that it's the sum total of all my experiences along this road that make me who I am. And for that, I'm thankful.

To join the campaign, visit or tweet with the hashtag #thanksdad.

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of National Fatherhood Initiative.


  1. As a father of three, two at home and one grown up, married w/children, I have found parenthood being one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things in my life. Our oldest at-home child is a young lady that was diagnosed w/a learning disability and autism. Our son is a gifted musician that began his "career" at age 4, playing the drums. Never a lesson but a dreamer and innovator in his own right. They are two different children, yet their similarities are apparent. Both love music, as my wife and I are both musicians, with a drive to succeed. Our daughter has seen many challenges but has a dream to become a math teacher. With the school professionals looking at her strangely when she mentions this in her IEP meetings, it makes us all the more determined to ensure she achieves her goal. As a father, I find myself in the unique position of being the game console player and all-around fun guy. I can't express the joy I have when we are doing homework together and celebrate a successful day in school. I know I'm not perfect, nor am I striving to be. I only know that being here for them is the greatest gift I can possibly give. In a world where young people are struggling in single-parent homes (I know as my wife and I work with parents daily - especially those with children w/special needs) I pray that I continue to hold up the standard of fatherhood that not only my children, but their friends see when they come to visit. Dads, continue to encourage one another and your spouses and especially your children. It can make or break who they will turn out to be. Be blessed...

  2. This is a very good post. I'm finding it challenging to be thankful for the difficulties surrounding my daughter's mother right now, as I'm in the middle of the fire. I'm a single dad with a beautiful, beautiful 14 month old daughter that I would cheerfully take a bullet for. Her mother and I have been somewhat at odds since before my daughter was born and it's gone downhill since. I suppose that my thankfulness here would be that this situation is teaching me to stand up for myself and do what's right for my daughter, as a father should. I'm also thankful that her mother does take good care of her. I just want to be a good dad and help my little girl grow up to "honorable womanhood", to borrow a phrase. Anyway, I have lots to be thankful for in my life in many areas: life, health, I'm making enough to pay bills and child support and such, family, friends, my church... And, I'm thankful that, hopefully soon, I'll be spending time with my little girl again. Thanks, y'all!


We welcome many points of view and great discussion. However, please be aware that comments go through an approval process. The blog administrators reserve the right to not post or delete any comments that are not appropriate (ie: comments with obscene, explicit, sexist, racist or otherwise derogatory language), impolite (ie: comments containing personal attacks, insults or threats), dishonest (ie: potentially libelous comments), or are spam. Thanks for understanding!