My Veneer

 

Today I’m sitting down sipping my coffee out of a new mug that I picked up this morning from the place where I had the chance to meet with one of the authors of the book, Veneer.  I’ve just started reading it, but it’s already got me thinking about the blogs I write, my online persona and my motivations behind it all.

This isn’t the first time I’ve ever had the conversation with myself, or read a blog post about creating an online persona that doesn’t match the real you or only putting one side of myself online.  People have been talking about this for a while now.  One of the first times anyone ever confronted me on this issue came in this comment by ‘anonymous’:

 …You spin tales, “Look at me, look at me, am I not wonderful? I am such a good father, and husband”, and, well, everything but a good son. Perfection to you seems to be discarding anything in your life that is less than perfect. …Turn your back, walk away.

Look in the mirror, once you get over being in love with yourself, I think you will find that you the person looking back at you is hardly worthy of emulation.

This comment drove me back to the question, “Why do I write this blog?”  it was originally just my name.blogspot.com, and while I experimented at first with writing all kinds of random thoughts, I decided this blog would be a place for me to remember all the cute things my kids do. I decided this would be my Dad blog.

Life goes by so quick, I imagine what it will be like when my children are older and out of the house, Erica and I will be contemplating how to spend our Thanksgivings while dealing with that feelings of wanting to have one of those moments back when our children were small, when our house was cluttered with toys.  Toys that may irritate me now at times, like when I find tiny plastic food in our freezer, or I get out of the shower and step on a boat from the kids bath time the night before.  These are the signs of life, and I know I will miss them, and miss seeing a backyard scattered with bikes and baseball bats and weird decorations that I’m sure the neighbor’s consider eyesores…

So I try to capture all those things my kids do now and how they make me feel so proud and happy, and yet I am also sometimes compelled to write about how I struggle (and fail, and get angry).  It helps me evaluate how I’m doing as a dad, and hopefully (over many years) I can look back and see progress and evidence that I am in fact growing as a father, and if for nothing else it just helps to keep me honest.

I like that I renamed this blog An Ordinary Dad, because I am ordinary.  SPOILER ALERT! We’re not the perfect family.  I’m not the perfect father.  Of course, anyone who knows me in real life already knows that…Still I got a comment recently that temporarily inflated my ego:

Hello,
I am writing to you because I was impressed by the dedication shown on your blog to being an involved dad. At the company I work for, WonderDads, we think dads like you are heroes. We are a leading publisher of dad/child books and a media company expressly designed to help dads engage with their children and families.

On our website, we have a growing collection of child related blogs; we’d like to include you as a featured guest dad blogger. In addition, we’re planning to publish a book inspired by the idea of “101 Lesson from Dad Bloggers”. Should you choose to participate, your blog would be featured in the new book!

We’re very excited by the chance to give hero dads like you the opportunity to show the world that the stereotypical portrayal of dads as bumbling fools is as outdated as it is inaccurate. If you’re interested in contributing, please send me an e-mail, and I’ll give you further details.

Sincerely,

Lindsay

I’m sure this is some kind of bulk generic comment spam, and even if it isn’t, I think it is way too soon to call me a “hero dad” and I don’t want to write as “Celebrity Me”.  But I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t ever tempted to pursue that…

I am glad for how far I’ve come in the Dad Blog community, because even though I don’t want to be pursuing celebrity status, I do want to influence and encourage other dads out there and connect with some of them.  That’s why I’ve started several other online ventures.  The meat and potatoes and side of green beans are all meant to motivate other men, or share our adoption journey, or challenge the way we think about God.  So that creates some tension in my life because I want to reach a lot of other people for God and open their eyes to the need to help the fatherless, at the same time I want to write this blog mainly for me.  But since this was the first blog I started, this is the one with the most reach.  I’ve joined Twitter since first posting about the Dad Blog community to try to connect with other like minded dads.

But even when Chris from empireoftheone.wordpress.com shares a little about me for his weekly “Who is @____ “, or the other Chris from dadofdivas.com puts me as a “Dad in the Limelight” it doesn’t mean anyone really gets to know me,”the deeper portion of our being that we rarely allow others to see” even though “we long to communicate this deeper place.” (Quote from Veneer’s Prelude by Jon Foreman. How do you not love a book that starts out like this!?) I feel like I still don’t connect with a lot of other dads on more than a veneer level.  I wish there was a way to really get to know someone.  But aside from just doing life together in real life, I’m not sure what that is… I wish it were different.

As far as being a hero dad or a celebrity dad, that’s not really for Lindsay to say, or ‘anonymous’, or any of my readers really.  I’ll just have to wait for any recognition I might get, to come from the only people who are qualified to give it.  My kids.  And I think they will have to be older than 4 and 2 to give that kind of definitive opinion. (My current ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ shirt was bought by my wife)

I recommend everyone get a copy of the book, and check out Tim and Jason’s site EndVeneer.com too.

Are other dad bloggers going through any of this right now?

How do you keep from losing your soul, while at the same time bearing your soul to the world?

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3 Replies to “My Veneer”

  1. While I’ve been blogging for awhile, that has been about work related stuff. Military Dad which I just started about 3 weeks ago or so is my first attempt at a blog where I actually talk with my own voice. I’m like you in that I’m certainly not the perfect father. It seems like I’m constantly at war with myself about what to post. I do get angry, and I do yell. Should I blog about that stuff? Absolutely. I’m sure I will in the future. However, I try to remain positive at all times, and my blog is a reflection of that. I certainly understand what you’re saying, and if I had received the comments that you have, I would probably call them justified (although I would expect anonymous’ to be in a bit more respectful manner). I will put the book in my queue, and I’ll give it a read. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Yes, When my children were first born it was a bit of a struggle to be happy and positive since we were mourning the loss of our old life (We were married five years before having kids) so what really started me on this blogging thing was just sitting down each night and trying to focus on the positive that happened that day and it just kind of evolved into this place where I keep all my good thoughts about having kids. Hard to balance, I never want to give anyone the wrong impression.

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