The Sacrifice Dad

Let me tell you about a new kind of father, the father who sacrifices everything for his children, the father that martyrs himself for his children, the father that loves his children too much to be anything but a father and leaves them as if they never had one. Let me tell you about the Sacrifice Dad.

The Sacrifice Dad has given up everything except the things he thinks of as “fatherly.” He tells dad jokes. He changes diapers. He drives his kids to school. He does not have hobbies of his own, not that shape him. His work does not necessarily interest him. He has Manned Up and maxed his income, so that his kids can go to good schools with good programs and a good college. It’s important to look after your family first, after all. When he is at home with his children he does not teach them skills. He has few skills. He shares the pop culture of his youth with them. He is often successful.

The Sacrifice Dad is not an absentee father. He is a caring and present father who is there for his kids. He is not able to help them with many problems, though, since kids today are so complicated, and the Sacrifice Dad does not follow modern culture (he has important things to do, providing for his family). He is so there for his kids he pays other people to be there for them, teachers and tutors and coaches, and often drives them there personally, so that they can be his absentee children.

The Sacrifice Dad might want to make up for his own absent, uncaring, or abusive father. He might be trying to improve on his caring father. He might not think about that at all, and just follow society’s cues. Think about it – how often do you see a TV dad who is 1. skilled at things that are not being a dad 2. presented as a good father? True masculinity, we’re told, can be surfing and sleuthing and silversmithing, until your kids arrive, after which it is pouring milk in your children’s cereal. All those things young men think are manly are but dross, next to helping your wife fold socks. Put them away. For their sake.

The Sacrifice Dad is there for his kids but there is not much of him there. The Sacrifice Dad is present in their lives but has little presence. Many of their classmates have no fathers. They are grateful to have one. There is a place in their world for a milk-pouring diaper-changing kindman who provides for his family. Sometimes they see themselves in that place. It is one occupation of many, an option, perhaps after a fun career, like the stay-at-home mom.

The social problems of absent and abusive fathers are massive. They should be mitigated by the purifying presence of fathered friends, whose superiority is anecdotally and scientifically well-attested. Why so little impact? Did their Dad Sacrifice it? Why are their classmates’ parents not constantly shamed by the Sacrifice Dad’s mere presence? Did he sacrifice adult friendship, and power in the community, and the lifelong development of advanced social skills? What did that get him?

The Sacrifice Dad sees his children go off to college and return alien, colonized, enemy to his values. He wracks his brain, he cries (real men can cry! There’s little else they’re allowed), he searches his soul for what more he could have done for his children.

What more could he have sacrificed?

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