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What Super Bowl Commercials are Forgetting About Fatherhood

I can admit it. I’m not much of a sports fan.  In fact, I only watch one football game a year (if you don’t count the high school games I’m forced to endure as a band dad.) 

I schedule Super Bowl Sunday and enjoy time with friends screaming at the screen and couch-coaching.

But not at the game…at the commercials!

Here’s what I learned about fatherhood by watching last night’s Super Bowl commercials.

As long as I drive the right car, all of my life-long absenteeism is forgotten.  And possibly forgiven if I shed a tear at the right time.

Bad assumptions are all I’m really passing to my boys because they don’t understand how to run like a girl.

A well-placed ad will end domestic violence and absolve national franchises of their guilt for looking the other way.

Wearing deodorant lets my kids know how much I care. (OK, I guess my family would argue the truth in this.)

...But only if I don’t end up killing my children in the bathtub first.

I don’t know who decided dads needed a PR campaign, but could we just stop?  You aren’t really doing us any favors.

Most of us will agree, parenting can be difficult.  And every family faces unique challenges. We have tough choices to make every day.

Should we stay at work another 30 minutes and finish this project so we can be fully present at home?  Or should we just go home now?

What’s the best way to tell our teenagers we’re concerned about their decision-making without losing them completely?

Is letting your kids eat the school lunch really akin to allowing them to forage for food in a dumpster?  And if it is, is feeding them PB&J every single day for nine months any better? Should we be gluten free instead? What the heck IS gluten?

With all due respect to car companies and insurance conglomerates, I don’t need a marketing campaign to show me what I’m doing right or how horrible Im screwing up my kids.

I don’t need a fast food mogul reminding me to call my mother instead of charging me $3 for a bad hamburger.

And I don’t need a bunch of guys who are fist fighting over a ball game telling me how to treat my wife.

But here is what I DO need ...and maybe we all need...from the people who actually matter in our everyday life:

I need forgiveness when I miss the mark.

I need subtle reminders to embrace my kids and be fully present. (emphasis on subtle)

I need less judgment and more mercy.

Whether you watched this year's Super Bowl Commercials or not know this:  The cars we drive or the insurance we buy or the people who create ads that target our emotions to attach us to their brand…they won't change this essential truth about fatherhood: Some days we’ll nail it. And some days we won’t.

But our kids will survive.  And probably thrive despite us.

Offer yourself the grace to be imperfect and the will to reach for something better.

And, hey, if all else fails…maybe you’ll be the guy who gets to do a little dance for his Big Mac.


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