Digital Dad


Digital DadApart from the 8 gold medals Michael Phelps garnished at the Beijing games. there was another story that kept creeping up. And no, I’m not referring to his heroic mom. That story didn’t creep up, it sprang up at every turn. No, I had a different question…

Where was dad?

I mean, Michael credits his mom for everything short of discovering America. She truly must be supermom! But I couldn’t help wondering where dad was. Where was Michael Phelp’s father through this history making week in China? Even if you believe the urban legends and think Michael is part fish and has a small dorsal fin on his back that he retracts whenever the cameras zoom in too close—there still has to be a daddy dolphin somewhere.

Well, as it turns out, you had to watch and listen very closely to catch even a glimpse of the fleeting story of the delinquent father. Turns out dear old dad left the family when Michael was 9 and has been an absentee father ever since. Mom had to be both father and mother to Michael and his sister. One commentator even had this to say in regards to the mystical Phelps patriarch:

Why don’t we just have him digitally inserted like the Chinese did with everything else at the Olympics?”

Hilarious? Yes

Sad? Definitely.

Why are so many dads today delinquent? How could fathers turn their backs on their kids? And let’s face it, it’s not exactly a 1 in a million story either. It’s almost the exception these days to see a father love, nurture, mentor and stick by his kids for life.

The opposite is the norm.


And don’t lecture me as to how there are 2 sides to every story.

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Anyway, I agree with you—there are 2 sides—the right side and the wrong side. Listen, when you’ve had as many dads in your office as I have, crying about how they just want to be happy and aren’t really hurting anyone as they traipse off with their “true soulmate,” you tend to get a little hardened to the repeated selfishness. And if men honored their vows and respected marriage maybe we wouldn’t keep raising up future generations of digital dads.

Are kids perfect? Wives blameless?

Give me a break. Of course not. And Michael Phelps is no exception. I’m sure he has his moments. But that’s another post for another day.  This one is about manning up. And it’s high time men did just that—especially Christian men.

I love my kids, and cannot imagine for the life of me anything that could ever change that—And I mean anything. Even if they walk away form me. I will never walk away from them. Don’t blow the trumpets and toot the horns just yet—that doesn’t make me anything special. It’s just part of being a dad. Not a virtual dad—a real dad. My model on this needs to be my heavenly Father. He promises never to leave or forsake me (and I’ve given him ample cause too on many occasions).

I’m glad.

Men of Southbrook? This coming Monday we start up the Men’s morning devotional time again at the Video Cafe on the Southbrook Central Campus. I hope to see record numbers of you joining us to learn together how men can be men—better husbands—better friends to one another—-and better dads in real life, everyday settings. No virtual reality here.

So, should I look for you in the flesh?

Or will you be digitally inserted?