Dads present and accounted for at school

Last night was the Ice Cream Social at my sons’ elementary school. While many parents also attended the flag raising on the first day of school, the social is traditionally the first time parents have a chance to greet each other and welcome new faces after the long summer break.

We had a huge turnout of families enjoying the ice cream, popcorn, face painting, DJ and giant inflatables. I was stationed at the latter all evening, where I spent most of my time patrolling to prevent little vandals from turning off the moon bounce to enjoy the shrieks of the little ones as the roof collapsed.

I love the social because it confirms one of the great things about our school: dads are interested and involved. And even the fathers who are neither (for whatever reason) are still present. It makes a strong impression when you look across a crowd of families and see fathers everywhere. The people who notice it the most are our children. They’re thrilled to have Dad along, and they absorb the message that the Ice Cream Social (or whatever event it might be) is important and their school is important, too.

Fellow dads, even in these tough times when many of us are struggling to find time for ourselves, let’s commit to being present at our children’s schools this year. That means being there for social events, PTA meetings, curriculum nights, open houses and (of course) parent-teacher conferences.

If some of us can also find time to be interested and involved, that’s great. Whatever we can manage, it all starts with being there in the first place.