A letter from a dad named Monty has touched on a rather challenging dilemma for the National Center for Fathering: how can we talk and write about healthy fathering when so many dads out there rarely even have the opportunity to be an effective father?

Monty is a twice-divorced dad who wrote this:

I appreciate your magazine because it fills a void prevalent in our society, the raising and training of fathers. But … the anguish I feel in not being present for my children escalates when I read about ideal fathering. And well it is that you should continue writing. But chances are I’m one of many displaced fathers. Whether we’re cowards or not … thoughts on ideal fathering do not help.

We know that not all dads can understand all the frustrations that divorced dads may go through—men who still strive to make the best out of an imperfect situation. Other dads can only imagine what it must be like to deal with custody, child support, or other conflicts that come with a divorce.

You may feel pain and regret; you may be angry and for good reason; you may feel like your insides are raw with stinging sadness. Maybe the best advice is to do all you can to turn negative energy into positive. Use your adrenaline from negative emotions to claim a firm resolve be the father your children need. Channel moments of regret into creative planning times for connecting positively with your children.

Don Mathis is a divorced dad who has done just that. In the midst of a bitter battle with his ex-wife, he has written this heartfelt poem, called “Daddy’s Dream”:

Though I’m not there to turn off the light,
To tuck you in and kiss you goodnight,
To read a book, or get you a drink,
It’s you I love, and of you I think.
If you were here, I’d give you a squeeze,
And ask if you could give me one please.
So to the day we’d say our good-byes.
As we lay down and close our eyes.

Dad, whatever your situation, hang in there. Your kids need you.

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