Real divorced dads don’t do that. Sure they find ways to do all of the things Disneyland Dads do, but they also understand how important it is to be there as often as they possibly can. They understand that their kids need their fathers’ examples and discipline. They understand the unbalance that happens when their child is fatherless most of the time.

These dads, these real dads, they fight for their children.

They are not content simply stepping to the side during a divorce. They do whatever they must in order to maintain their parental rights. They fight every battle that needs fighting, and they spend every penny that needs spending, even if it means putting themselves into a momentary financial nosedive. Real dads make their kids the prioritizing factor in every decision they make. They make sure that nothing and nobody takes precedence over their children. If needs be, they give up careers, homes, and dreams to be where there child is. They do it, and they do it at any cost.

You see, they know the crucial role they play in their children’s lives. They know that nothing is more important than their children growing up with a fighting chance at life. They know that divorce has already stripped their children of countless fundamental necessities. They know that the reality of a broken home is a greatly lowered potential and ability for future success. So, real divorced dads do something about it.

They make sure they’re there, and they make sure they’re good men. They make surethey get equal amounts of time with their kids. These real dads are never satisfied with anything less. They never settle. They never cave-in.

And as much as they understand the role that a good father must play, they also understand the vital role of a good mother. They understand the nurturing and the emotional support good mothers will give. They understand the soft shoulders that their children will need to cry on sometimes. They do everything they can to support the mother of their children, and to encourage love and respect for her.

And let’s be clear about something. Real divorced dads never get caught up in parent-bashing with their children. Ever.

And, while they are simultaneously fighting for their share of their children’s lives, they never try to take a child away from a good mother. They don’t fight so hard that their children miss out on the balance that having a good mother will always offer them. They are invested in the health and development of their children, and they know that Mom is a vital part of that.

These real dads also never shirk their duties. They don’t skip out on child support payments or constantly find ways to get out of “their turn” with the kids. A man who does this is barely better than the self-centered deserter that walks away completely. He makes the mother of his child spend far too much time and money collecting child support or forcing him to spend time with his kid. He feels safe in the fact that she usually won’t have the time or the money. He is a selfish ass who in my opinion doesn’t deserve to be in his child’s life.

And strangely enough there is a third dad who leaves as well. He is the father who somehow leaves without ever leaving at all. He is the dad who leaves while he is married and present in his family’s life. He has no intentions of ever physically walking away, and why would he? Life is “good” for dads like this. They are content. They are fine.

Personally, I believe a married man has the ability to abandon his family just as easily as a divorced dad or a deserter dad does, and from what I have seen, such an occurrence isn’t exactly rare in our society.

These dads check-out mentally. They begin putting the bulk of their priorities on everything but their children. They leave the burden of their entire families’ routines on the mothers, whether it be getting the kids up and dressed, helping them with their homework, going to parent teacher conferences, or enforcing discipline. They don’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt as they sit happily in their apathy. And what’s worse, they often have no clue that they’re even doing it.

These dads find their children to be wasteful nuisances; pesky flies that are theirs for the swatting. These dads rarely speak kind words or use soft hands. They constantly gripe about their kids not being good enough, their kids not being smart enough, and their kids not being quick enough. They turn their children into wageless employees who are expected to be at Daddy’s beckoned call, or suffer the consequences. These dads are rarely appreciative of anything, and the power of praise is a at best a foreign concept to them.

There is no place for men like this in an improving society. There is no place for men who are found sitting in boats fishing, trying to perfect their bowling hooks, or swinging their new set of golf clubs with far more frequency than they can be found sitting at family dinner or helping their children build birdhouses.

Just like their abandoning equivalents, these men are not real men, and they certainly aren’t real fathers. They are selfish and weak. They are arrogant, coarse, and crude.  They crush both the hearts of their wives and the hearts of their children, and they don’t give a damn that they’re doing it.

Real married dads, on the other hand, have no part of such horse manure. The very thought of ignoring, abandoning, or loathing their children pains and sickens them. The mere mention of a business trip or being gone away from home troubles them. They take no joy in the difficulties that their absence will place on their counterparts, and when they do leave, they count down the days to their return. Real married dads aren’t just there physically; they’re there mentally and emotionally. Period.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a married dad who leaves, a divorced dad who leaves, or some guy who had a fling with Mom. The truths of leaving remain. The greatest moments of life will be altogether missed and dismissed when a man does.

A divorced dad who leaves will miss out on the trust that is built when he is actually there playing the role of father instead of friend. He’ll miss the daily stories and struggles that his child will bring home and recount. He’ll miss the nightly bear hugs before bed, and the heart to heart talks of which he could have been an integral part.

A married dad who leaves will miss out on the thrill of being a true teammate with his child’s mom. He’ll miss out on the affection and appreciation that would have been his. He also misses out on almost everything the deserting father misses out on. The only difference is that his child sleeps in the next room.

It really doesn’t matter which kind of dad a man is if he leaves. It’s all the same. It’s all tragic, and it’s all wrong. It’s a man’s refusal to put God’s greatest gift before himself. It’s indolence at its finest. And it has to stop.

It’s time we stand up and demand more of the fathers of this world. It’s time we stop buying into their rationalizations and their sorry explanations. It’s time we give our kids a fighting chance…