Heed Thee the Words of Tom Selleck! Quit Being a Jerk-Wad of a Father

Filed under: In The News

A man is watching a football game with his buddies. Suddenly, inexplicably, he gets up and leaves the room. Rather than fetching more nachos, however, he goes to the basement where he (this is the weird part) spends time with his son.

Told you it was weird.

If you catch this scene on TV in the next few days, don't worry. No one remade "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" without telling you.

This is not science fiction, but it does take place in an alternate universe where fathers actually spend time with their children, and a benevolent God (who does a great Tom Selleck impersonation) speaks from on high to make sure that they do.

Call it a Dadvertisement.

It comes to you from the folks at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who seriously want you guys to spend more time with your kids.

That's because, statistically, a lot of you are jerk-wads.

OK, so the federal government doesn't actually keep statistics on jerk-wadiness. Nonetheless, it wouldn't be the federal government if it didn't have some numbers to back up its new advertising campaign.

Officials point to a survey by the National Fatherhood Initiative. The nonprofit organization claims nine out of 10 parents believe there is a "father absence crisis" in America.

Another nonprofit, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, insists children who live without their biological fathers are two to three times more likely to be real jerk-wads themselves. They have more trouble in school and tend to fall in with the Wrong Crowd.

So, heed the words of the almighty Magnum, P.I., the disembodied, yet omnipresent, voice that says "the smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child's life" and urges you to "take time to be a dad today."

The guys in the commercials don't really need the prodding. They're super cool.

A guy actually blows off his buddies to spend time with his son? Another dude helps his daughter "operate" on her teddy bear? Still another romps on the beach with his little boy?

Apparently, these are all radical concepts in a world where women don't need to be reminded to be mothers but fathers have to be told that, oh yeah, they have kids.

This actually is the second wave of these ads. The first depicted such oddities as a father helping his daughter with her cheerleading practice.

The public service ads were created for free by the Campbell-Ewald advertising agency for the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Family Assistance, two arms of HHS. The ads depict fathers from various ethnic groups.

Priscilla Natkins, executive vice president and director of client services of the Advertising Council, tells The New York Times that dads seem to be getting the message.

"Anecdotally we've gotten a wildly enthusiastic response from dads who write in," she tells the newspaper.

Bill Ludwig, chairman and chief executive of Campbell-Ewald, tells The Times advertising for causes should inspire people to take action.

"The fatherhood campaign does that in spades," he says. "It makes it easy to take action. You don't need to be a hero to be a great dad, just spend time with your kids."

See? Here you thought jerk-wad fathers were a real problem. Turns all they needed was a TV commercial to tell them what to do.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.