May 2020 Silver Linings Energize Daddying Hope for 2021
Updated: Jan 4
by Scott Beller, Daddying Editor, and the DCG DADvisory Team
For our final Daddying blog of the year, we offered each member of our DADvisory Team an opportunity and invitation. The "opportunity" was for reflection. The "invitation" was for them to each provide a brief, mindful response to the following prompts for use as a modest blog contribution:
A loving 2020 memory involving family or friends
An important learning/realization/epiphany from the past year; and
A wish/hope/commitment for 2021.
Prompt #1 - A Loving Memory
Scott Beller: Watching my then 12-year-old daughter realize her literal, lifelong goal of earning her black belt in Tae Kwon Do and then having the honor of helping tie that belt for the first time. Working together with my girls on wall murals in the house we were about to demolish to build a brand-new home in its place. We'll move into that house and start the next phase of our lives there this February.
Janise Davis: Cross-country drive (California to Washington, DC) with my boyfriend. Birthday gathering with people I hold dearest. Seeing life through the eyes of two nieces (11 and 9 years old).
Neil Tift: Saying "goodbye" to my brother-in-law and father-in-law. Becoming closer with my adult, foster daughter. Spending more time with my wife.
David Goldstein: Taking my son to his freshman year at college.
Randell Turner: Younger brother driving 12+ hours to be with me on Thanksgiving. My 11-year-old grandson asking, "Are you related to us?!" after I mixed up some of the Marvel superheroes with the DC Comics ones.
Monica Zamora: We all know how important our network of family and friends are. However, 2020 handed us an opportunity to genuinely contemplate who is important and why they are important to us. My loving 2020 memory is being able to “see” family and friends more often than we did before the pandemic. My and my husband’s families recognized and embraced the importance of social distancing. While some family members are close by, others are clear across the country. While we spoke on the phone or through emails, there’s nothing quite like “seeing” the person or people on the other end.
Ben King: I conducted an online memorial for a dear friend who died. It was a very meaningful and sad experience. We then connected at Arlington National Cemetery for his funeral. His name was Andrew McCaffrey. He was a Special Forces Soldier in the Army. He served in Afghanistan among other places. I will never forget him.
Kwesi Rollins: I was on my way back to the USA from Thailand when my granddaughter was born on February 20th. I found out upon landing at DFW Airport. When my phone connected to the network, I had a voicemail message from my son telling me about the healthy birth of his daughter, Sydney. I got to see and hold her for the first time five days later, which was an incredible feeling on every level.
Prompt #2 - Learning or Epiphany
AS: The importance of hitting the pause button more often. Learning to appreciate the laughter in people's eyes.
SB: There's too much truth in the adage, "The days are long, but the years are short." Since I lost my mother in 2019 and her mother – my grandmother – this year, I've become more acutely aware I've got only so much time left with the family I have left. So, as difficult as lockdown has been (and for our family, it's been relatively easy compared to many others who have suffered greatly during this pandemic), I've welcomed our 24-7 togetherness. Mostly.
JD: Don't underestimate the importance and power of showing up. Appreciating the importance of being truly present.
NT: How fleeting life can be. The need to bring people together.
DG: Social interactions are the lubricant that makes life worthwhile.
RT: After observing how much my daughter, son-in-law, and their four children laugh together, I recognized this is a wonderful and important family opportunity and quality.
MZ: Life and life’s responsibility made time a precious commodity. 2020 gave us permission to hit the pause button and stop and think about who and what is important. Through the power of Zoom, we scheduled Saturday or Sunday afternoon family get-togethers, alternative holiday and birthday celebrations, middle-of-the-workweek happy hours, and other celebrations with friends. The beauty of it was that everyone of all ages, no matter where they were located, could all be in the same “room” at the same time. Looking back, the beauty of these get-togethers made us realize we have had more contact with our family and friends in 2020 than in years past.
BK: Real connections can be made online. They aren’t the same as face-to-face, but they are worth the effort.
KR: A powerful moment happened while celebrating Father's Day with my son and his family – his first as a father and my first as a granddad. Four months had passed since we'd been together, largely because of Covid-19, so the baby was growing like crazy after 4 months. It was a Father's Day I'll never forget and a reminder that the torch had been passed from one generation to the next. My son was now a loving father – a true girl dad. And my role was forever changed – still a loving, supportive father but now loving and caring for the next generation as well.
Prompt #3 - Hope for 2021
AS: Working ever more exuberantly to bring attention to the importance and joy to fathers of greater, positive father-child involvement.
SB: My hope is that the Daddying blog will be seen and acknowledged by more people so that more dads may be encouraged and more kids, families, and communities may understand and enjoy the proven benefits of increased father involvement. My commitment is to support my kids as they continue to wrestle with virtual school, lockdown seclusion blues, and the ability to view the future with optimism. Sometimes that will be with just a simple hug and an "I love you."
JD: Don't be afraid to be great and let your light shine as bright as you can.
NT: Help America come together. Continue the momentum of acknowledging the need to bring people together; acknowledge the legitimate results of the presidential election.
DG: Follow-up in encouraging widespread acknowledgment of historical racial biases/racism – keep the momentum going.
RT: Deepen relationships with more family members.
MZ: My wish and hopes for 2021 are that we remember to keep our circle of family and friends close and continue to make time for these interactions. I also hope all of us expand our circles and embrace others while continuing to realize that our family/friend networks are the very basis of what enriches our lives.
BK: Greater leadership from our government.
KR: My wish for 2021 is that we find the love necessary to break cycles of dysfunction and hate and create the necessary environments for multiple generations to thrive.
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Thanks again to all our readers for sticking with us and helping us grow the Daddying blog throughout what has been a grueling 2020 for many. May you all enjoy an active, healthy, joyous New Year together with your families!
Keep wearing your masks, washing your hands, laughing with and reading to your kids, and may your every day in 2021 feel like Father's Day!
Scott Beller is the proud, imperfect dad of two mighty girls, Morgan and Lauren, and also Editor of the Daddying blog, DCG's Director of Communications, and recently-retired Santa. He's a seasoned writer and PR agency veteran with more than 25 years of experience helping organizations of all sizes reach audiences and tell their stories. Prior to launching his own creative communications consultancy in 2003, he led PR teams with some of the world’s most respected agencies, including Fleishman-Hillard and The Weber Group. As a consultant, he’s helped launch two other parenting advocacy nonprofits with DCG founder Allan Shedlin. His first book, Beggars or Angels, was a ghostwritten memoir for the nonprofit Devotion to Children's founder Rosemary Tran Lauer. He was formerly known as "Imperfect Dad" and Head Writer for the Raising Nerd blog, which supported parents in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and creative problem solvers. He earned his BA in Communications from VA Tech.