Taking my daughter out to the playground is a excursion she can't get enough of. In fact, if we are driving to the bank or the grocery and we pass the park, she yells, "Turn here, Mommy! The Park!" She loves swinging, climbing up the clubhouse, sliding, and interacting with the other kids. She likes to introduce herself to them...at 2 1/2! But, already I digress.
Typically, the playground is swarming with screaming, laughing kids and clusters of moms - some catching their child as they come down the slide, Some sharing a park bench, catching up on life while their kids expend energy. But that's the only demographic - Moms and kids.
In the last year, I've noticed more and more dads in the middle of the day at the playground with their kids. At first I thought, "Maybe he's a stay at home dad and his wife works," but more and more I've noticed the number of Dads vs Moms change. Sometimes I'll even see whole families at the park together on a Tuesday or Thursday late morning.
My initial reaction is to feel bad for the men, as they most likely lost their jobs. And I do feel for them. It's a tough, tough time right now for America, and everyone I know has felt the impact of this recession. So many people have lost their jobs, their homes, or have walked away from their houses because it's easier than trying to sell it when they really need to sell it and it just won't sell. My generation has never seen a time like this. My peers were raised to be working professionals. And what are we doing? Getting laid off, getting let go.
My initial reaction was to feel bad for these men, but I don't feel that bad for them. They are smiling, laughing, running around with their kids in the middle of the day at the playground. They are probably more than ever a part of their children's lives during those active hours of the day. And, when those dads are stressed and worried about work, they are most likely leaning more on their families and weighing in on just how important these precious few are to them. The ones who won't lay them off, let them go, or tell them, "It's not personal. It's just good business."
These dads are changing history for their kids and for themselves. Maybe unintentionally, but changing it anyway.
There are always blessings, maybe even moreso in the bad times.