So Many Ways to Be A Great Dad

You be you. Just be a great dad.

One misconception people have about my work – and that of other fatherhood advocates – is that I am against traditional family structure and against traditional fatherhood roles. Or, rather, that I think all dads should adopt newer, more hands-on and egalitarian roles.

All I really advocate for is having conversations with the important people in your life, and figuring out how you can best be a great dad and be true to yourself. This should determine our path. (Our first job is to take care of our families, but it’s also our lives we’re talking about, so we get to have a say). If it makes the most sense for you to climb the corporate ladder while your spouse does the primary parenting — then great! If it makes the most sense to share the load at work and at home — then great! If it makes the most sense to stay at home while your spouse earns the money — then great!

But there is one traditional aspect I do push back against. There’s a notion that to be manly, one has to hew to traditional roles of fatherhood and masculinity. The fact is there are so many ways to be a great man and a great dad. We should follow our own paths. And we should allow others to do so without judgment or stigma.

Ultimately, we are all on the same side. Together, we are raising the next generation. We all do it differently- and that’s a good thing. Let’s stop judging others.

What role do you see for yourself? let’s discuss in the comments.

Like the article? Think it would make for a good facebook, reddit or twitter conversation? Then please share it using the buttons below. You can also follow the blog via email, facebook or twitter. And, of course, remember to buy my book. Thanks!

Scott Behson, PhD, is a professor of management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a national expert in work and family issues, and was a featured speaker at the White House Summit on Working Families and at the United Nations.

He’s the author of the The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home (Motivational Press, 2015), the first book of its kind to provide advice and encouragement for working fathers, helping them to achieve success in their careers while also being the involved, loving dads they always wanted to be.

Scott founded and runs the popular blog, “Fathers, Work, and Family,” dedicated to helping working fathers and encouraging more supportive workplaces. He writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review Online, Huffington Post and the Good Men Project, and has also been published in TIME, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal.     

Scott has appeared on MSNBC, CBS This Morning, Fox News and Bloomberg Radio, as well as NPR’s Morning Edition, Radio Times and All Things Considered. His work has been featured in such outlets as the Atlantic, Esquire, Inc., Buzzfeed, GQ, The Washington Post and Salary.com.

At the Silberman College of Business at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Scott teaches, conducts research, and provides consulting services in Work-Family Balance and Workplace Flexibility. Scott earned a Ph.D. from the University at Albany, State University of New York and a B.S. from Cornell University. He was named the Silberman College of Business Teacher of the Year for 2010-2011, and, this past year, was named a Silberman Global faculty Fellow. Scott has published 17 peer-review journal articles, made over 40 presentations at prestigious national and international academic conferences, won six research awards, and is a two-time nominee for the prestigious Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Work-Family Research.

Scott is an accomplished professional speaker and consultant, working with companies, conferences and organizations on work-family programming and delivering keynote addresses on fatherhood, work-family policy, and where the two intersect.

Scott lives in Nyack, NY with his wife, stage actress Amy Griffin, and son, Nick. Contact him @ScottBehson on Twitter and follow him on Fathers, Work, and Family.