Lots of us are divorced or otherwise separated from our children. But live-away dads who stay involved with their kids may be the best mentors any father can find.
“Live-Away Dads” is the term used by William Klatte in his book of the same name, the best resource available for a man whose family is breaking up. Live-away dad is more positive than non-custodial father (which implies that kids are property) and covers men who are divorced, men never legally married and men in a host of other situations where they live in a different home than their kids, but still remain a big part of their kids’ lives.
No matter what we call them, live-away dads are pioneers in how to be an intentional father.
My biggest surprise about divorce is the way I spend time with my daughter now; it’s incredible and completely unexpected. When I was married, I worked a lot, and I didn’t spend very much time at home. Being divorced, I now have these regular days in the week to be with my daughter. I have lots more time with her now than I did when we were living together. That’s not what I expected at all, and it really made me realize how stupid it was not to spend more time with her when I was living there. Like my work was more important than my daughter? It’s ridiculous. I know there are times it bugs my ex- to see me more committed to our daughter now than I was then, and I can see why she'd feel that way. But now, I schedule time with her and I’m concentrating just on her. It’s like I have to really be a father on purpose now. - Paul
This dad’s story struck a strong chord for me. It made me realize how often I took it for granted that my daughters would be around when I got home from work or a trip. I took it for granted that I could go do something special with one of my daughters whenever I wanted – even though I seldom went and did something special as often as I could have.
Divorce is a terrible fire to pass through in order to understand the rewards of concentrating on our kids. But every father can learn from live-away dads who stay actively and constructively involved with their kids.