Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dadpost: Giving Good Dads the Benefit of the Doubt

Chris gives his opinion on two Dads recently in the news...

Generally, I believe a parent’s instinct to do what’s best for their child comes naturally.

So I was shocked to read two separate stories in the news this week where that caring nature was questioned, ridiculed, or outright ignored.

The first concerns Doyin Richards, a first-time dad from Los Angeles. Richards posted a picture on his blog of him doing the hair of one of his daughters while holding the other in a chest carrier. Looks like good multi-tasking to me!

Image from:
Unfortunately, negative comments made the post go viral for all the wrong reasons. Complete strangers said many hateful, racist things. They insinuated that he “rented those kids” because they didn’t have the same skin tone. That he was a “deadbeat”. That all his kids were “illegitimate”.

The racist comments are bad enough. But what’s more troubling for me is that the comments implied the dad didn’t know what he was doing. All the best intentions in the world won’t mean much if people make snap judgments about a father’s parenting ability.

The second story is even worse. Houston native Clifford Hall discovered his child support and his visitation agreement were modified without his knowledge. To avoid jail, Hall quickly paid the $3000 due in back child support, plus another three grand in legal fees to his ex-wife’s attorney. Despite owing nothing whatsoever – Hall was still sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court.

Hall’s response sums it up pretty well: "I can't be there for my son in jail. I can't pay child support in jail. This is not in the best interest of the child."

Hall hadn’t tried to shirk his responsibility at all. It seems obvious to me to let his actions speak for themselves. But apparently not to that judge.

Obviously I’ve never experienced anything remotely as serious as what these two fathers are going through. And I hope I never will. Whatever differences Sarah and I may have, one thing that’s never been questioned is my commitment to being a good dad to Hannah.

It’s troubling when that happens, especially in cases like these where it doesn’t appear warranted. But it shouldn’t be about celebrating these two men as shining examples of fatherhood. It should be about getting to a point where we instinctively give good dads the benefit of the doubt.

Doyin Richards’ blog – Daddy Doin’ Work -

Online petition to have charges against Clifford Hall lifted -

© 2014 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

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