Thursday, January 13, 2011

DADDY'SDOWN, BUT NOT OUT!

Getting to know Chris reveals a survivor...
After my [email] interview with Chris, the author of DaddysDown.com, I found myself with a deep respect for him. This is the kind of respect one has for an individual who goes through hell and comes through the other side a better person. For this reason, he reminds me of my own biological father, whom I’ve only known for the past seven years. He too was recently clean and sober when we met, and he had also endured some rough years. However, the man I met on this side of those hard times was a gentle gracious man I’ve grown to admire. Pulling yourself out of your own muck and mire, even with the help of friends, family, or faith, is an undertaking few have success with.
THE INTERVIEW:
Chris is what happens when you allow the harsh truth to stop making excuses for you, and you let it set you free. The one thing that attracted me to his blog was his About the Author section where he explains how he suffered from Paternal Post-Partum Depression (PPPD). Since I had never known anyone who had suffered from this, I was intrigued. I won’t go into it, because Chris does a great job in this section and in a recent post. However, this is something that does hit new fathers, and can be an isolating downfall for new dads who think they are failing their kids, and have nowhere to turn for help, for a helping hand, or for a way out. Chris has provided them this.
I strongly believe that we are not the mistakes we make in life, and that we are defined by how we respond to what life brings us. The insights Chris can bring as someone who has dealt with addiction (continues to beat addiction everyday), someone who has gone through PPPD, someone who has ADHD are numerous, and creates a platform to draw many to his site.
WHY DADDYSDOWN:
Chris has been blogging for about three years, and has been working on DaddysDown (in one form or another) for about a year and a half. The initial reason for the blog was to spread awareness about PPPD and to tell his own story about his experiences with it. However, the purpose of the blog has evolved in a natural way to address more issues of fatherhood. In Chris’ own words,
“Daddy's Down described a father that was depressed or for lack of better terminology, down. It has since morphed into a commentary on how beat up I often feel as a father after a day of parenting, especially when I haven't had my coffee. It also tends to create an image in people's mind of this dad, passed out cold, down for the count. Daddy's Down just seemed to continue to work when I changed the focus of my blog.”
Even though DaddysDown was not started as a brand, it has branding potential, and you could picture merchandise with the label on it someday. DaddysDown has many connotations to it, and I think it can mean a lot of different things related to fatherhood. Money is not Chris’ motivator, and has four main goals of his blog:
1. To tell my life story to the world so that they can learn from my mistakes and not have to learn from their own as well as learn from my successes so that they can experience their own.
2. To give dads a toolbox that they can use to be better dads and raise excellent children who will one day be better dads and moms.
3. To be a place to vent and hopefully have someone who will listen.
4. To be entertaining. I love nothing more than to make people laugh and smile.
While I would love to one day be able to make a little money by blogging, that would only be a byproduct of the four goals that I have listed.
KEEPING UP THE FIGHT:
Chris strikes me as a good man who continues to try and do better. Like any good man, he has a great woman behind him. He credits his forgiving and supportive wife with helping him remain accountable daily to being clean and sober. What a blessing. His children help to motivate him to stay clean, and much like every dad, he wants to be present, engaged, and able to remember their childhoods and watch them grow. Chris credits those in his life who loved him enough to pray for him for the fact that he is not currently in a gutter somewhere. “Thank God that HE is a God of second chances and forgiveness,” he says, “HE has put my wife and kids in my life, and I believe that HE uses them as daily reminders of how good I have it.”
One of the last questions I asked Chris was what lessons do you hope your children learn from your life? I liked his answer so much I will just quote it.
The answer is very short and simple: Be honest, be honorable, love God, and always do the right thing even if it hurts.
These are things that I wish I had learned as a kid and the lack of them caused me to travel through a very dark path in my life. That dark path is one that almost cost me everything. Had I only learned early on to be honest, be honorable, love God and always do the right thing even if it hurts, then my life would have been a whole lot easier up to this point. I would never want my kids to experience the things that I have experienced. They can avoid the pitfalls of my life by learning those four things.
I liked his answer because it has to do with creating a better life for his kids than he had, which is what fatherhood commissions every man to do. Thank you for your efforts Chris.
To his readers, Chris wants you to know the following things:
I want them to learn that a good cup of coffee and a big bear hug are essential to life. I want them to learn that you have take care of yourself if you want to take care of your family. I want them to learn that in the worst of times you can be assured that things will always get better. I want them to learn that being a father is a gift, but one that comes with much responsibility, The rewards however are endless. Most importantly, I want them to learn that God loves them and wants them to be happy.
Chris, thank you for your struggles and triumphs. Thank you for your efforts, and for your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with the world. And thank you for the DADTIFICATES they are one of my favorite parts of your blog. Keep them coming. And thank you from me for being my first dad blog interview!

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