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Fatherhood over the last five years has become a progressive movement with much more focus on the importance of the father’s involvement. While it is a blessing to see the change, I pose the question, “What took so long?” That’s a huge rabbit hole to go down; so, for the time being let’s just say I am grateful for the awakening. Dedication of fathers to their ever-so important call and dedication of community programs to the development of enhancing the fatherhood experience has been refreshing. To be dedicated to something means that an individual or individuals transcend their efforts beyond the initial call. So, I simply ask, are you “Dadicated?”

Society has told us that fathers are primarily protectors and providers. Society has told us that fathers are incapable of being emotionally involved with their children. Society has told us that fathers are not as important as mothers are. I can go on and on about this, but I’ll leave you to ponder those things. Imagine living in society as a father where you are underappreciated and not valued. Imagine living in a society where there are not structures, resources, education, or people in place to help you reach your potential and goals as a father. However, even with those disparities we still do our best to be more than protectors and providers; we still do our best to be emotionally connected to our children; we still do our best to show that we are just as important as moms are simply because we are dedicated to being excellent fathers. I know a dad whose wife got stuck in her home country for three months. It left him in a position with two kids to raise alone for that time being, working two jobs, and also being a student. He didn’t complain, he didn’t have a pity party, but he buckled down and handled business. I asked him how did he manage all of that and still focus on the kids? He simply responded, “I’m their dad, that’s what I am supposed to do.” Instead of fussing about the situation, he found a way because he was dedicated. Dedicated as so many fathers are and dedicated as some community agencies have become, to this fatherhood journey.

Having experienced in my own childhood some of the negative stereotypes you hear about fathers, I am a living testimony that as a father that there is always an opposite to those things. As a society we have to make those positive things pillars, so that those very things become the standard of what represents fatherhood. Being involved, being supportive of mothers, being nurturing, being tender-loving, being intentional, etc. Add those things to being protectors and providers. To the fathers reading this I challenge you to continue to be more than what society says; and to those who are in support of this fatherhood journey, I challenge you to be bold in encouraging fathers and share with the world our importance. With that being said let us grow together; let us be impactful; let us be “Dadicated”!!!

The Tulsa Health Department’s Healthy Start program works to ensure our babies are healthy, safe and thriving. Their program is committed to improving the father, parent-child relationship through fatherhood engagement. Our Fatherhood Program promotes this philosophy by linking fathers to resources that strengthen the role for the involvement of the father.

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