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Guest Post: Be a Dad: Fatherhood is all about balance

This is a guest post by Jon Brancheau, Vice President, Nissan Marketing. Jon will accept a Fatherhood Award from National Fatherhood Initiative this Friday, recognizing Nissan for their father-friendly ad "Baby." (Click here to watch the ad). Jon is a father of three and shared his thoughts with us as part of NFI's Be A Dad campaign.

To Be a Dad is an awesome, incredible, and honored responsibility.

I’m the father of three kids… blessed with my two boys through adoption and my daughter shortly thereafter. My kids are 12, 15 and 17 now and in reflection of what I’ve learned, I would say that the key for me has simply been “balance.” Fatherhood is all about balance… just like the guy in our “Baby” ad.

A balanced obligation between the kids and the workplace is a good start. Prioritizing the time for my kids sporting events and recitals has proved important. I want to be visible for them at these events and will go out of my way to attend some during inconvenient business hours. Trust me, they get it and appreciate it. In the end, I try not to let my kids come up short on the “balance of work-life” scale.

Staying with the idea of balance… How about the simple balance between trying to teach your kids vs. listening to them? Listening has worked for me so far and the kids continue to teach me something new every single day.

In my world, what it means to “Be A Dad”

Clearly, I’m not a dad, nor will I ever know what it’s like to be one. However, I do happen to know what it feels like when a dad takes time to “Be a Dad” to his daughter. Let me share what I mean.

My dad was always there for me, through good times and bad. And through all the trouble I got in, again and again during my teenage years, he was still there, being a dad.

While he bailed me out of my fare share of “pickles” he always made it a point to remind me of his expectations with love. So, at times, amidst what may have seemed like letting me get away with something, a lesson was learned. A challenge was always given for me to "show myself trustworthy," and I would be trusted. If I kept demonstrating the same poor behavior, trust could not be built. And it was through trust, that he would be willing to give me more responsibility in the future.

I believe it was these key learning moments as I was growing up that impacted me most. I’m older and married now, and my dad is still there for me, being a dad, helping and encouraging me when needed.

I can’t help but wonder if he and I could have rebuilt trust – and more importantly, if rebuilding trust would have been as important to me – had he not handled those teachable moments the way he did.

Thus, I encourage all dads to Be a Dad even through life’s ups and downs. But most importantly, Be a Dad who makes the downs count.

Be a Dad

NFI has launched a brand new PSA (public service advertising) campaign called "Be a Dad." Take a look:



As I have watched this ad over and over again (loving it every time, of course), something occurred to me. I think many of us assume that to "be a dad" has always meant roughly the same thing. That the images in the Be a Dad spot are natural or obvious. But what if this commercial had been made 30 years ago? What four scenarios would have been depicted?

I know in my own experience, I do some things differently than my own dad did. The biggest "every day" example is that I don't recall my dad ever cooking dinner. I, however, cook dinner for my wife and son routinely. This does not make me better, just different. In fact, my dad is probably proud of the fact that he never cooked dinner :)

A few questions for you.

If Be a Dad was made 30 years ago, what four father-child scenarios would have been depicted?

What do you do differently than your own dad did to be a dad?

What do you think our sons will be doing differently 20 years from now to be a dad?

As you ponder these questions, share the Be a Dad commercial with your friends!

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