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From Back to the Future (1985)The other day I asked a pretty straight-forward question on our Facebook page: “If you could go back in time and tell your Father one thing before he had kids, what would it be?” To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping people would be honest and say what was truly in their hearts, but I didn’t expect the rawness of the responses we received. But I’m thankful to our fans for opening up and sharing their stories with us, as maybe, just maybe, by reading some of the comments we got, we might get a few men to think long and hard before they even think about having kids, and put them on to a better path, for themselves and their unborn children- before it’s too late.

Our fans held nothing back. And they said exactly what was on their minds and in their hearts. And if this doesn’t give a few men a reason to pause and change their ways, nothing will. What do people wish they could go back in time to say to their dads? Lots!  Here are the top ten responses (in no particular order):


“Wear a condom.” – Carlos

"Don't. Just don't. You're never too young for a vasectomy." - Nikki

This was not an unexpected response, as we are well aware that there are many men who should indeed not have children. But it just seemed so odd to hear it from so many adults who obviously wish they had not been born to the parents they had, or adopted. Some men had kids too young, some men had kids they never wanted and some men just couldn’t grow up and live up to their responsibilities once they fathered one or more children. Some men just couldn’t be bothered to get involved, while others were a little “too” involved. But if your adult children are saying they wish you would have put on a condom to spare them a childhood of pain, you know you pretty much sucked as a father.


"Don’t expect too much out of mom. She’s a drunk, a cheater, and she will attempt to kill you." - Debbie

How’s this for a warning? Imagine being told that you would marry a woman who would mentally and verbally abuse your kids, or abandon them, or use them against you if you divorce. Imagine being told you could spare yourself and your kids years of suffering at the hands of a woman who fooled you in to believing she was someone she was not? Would you? Or would you be much more selective in the person you choose to bear your offspring, or have drunk intercourse with, resulting in a child? If anything would make you pause and think with your other head, I would guess this would be it.


“Don’t be a stranger.” - Josoy

Are you a workaholic? There’s nothing wrong with that- if you’re single. But once you have a wife and kids you need to find the right balance in your life to get what both you and your family need to survive. You think you live to work. Others would say it’s the other way around. (Or something like that). And putting in 60 -80 hour weeks won’t go unnoticed by your kids. They’ll figure out quite quickly what is most important to you and your “Cats in the Cradle” cautionary tale will just be another one from millions of men who just don’t get it. Your family may want a lot of things, but they NEED you, and YOUR presence is more important than your presents.


"Don’t drink or smoke so you live to see your grand babies!" - Pepper

Sometimes we have habits that we picked up honestly from our own parents : addictions, or coping mechanisms that really don’t do us or our families any good.  There’s nicotine addiction, alcoholism, and drug dependency issues that some people just find impossible to overcome. There are demons and there are decisions we make to continue to do things we know aren’t good for us just because they might relieve stress, or help us forget our own pain so we can make it through a day. But they will catch up to you.  Their side effects will get worse. And inevitably they will take you away from your kids, whether it be momentarily (like each time you go outside for a smoke) or permanently when they finally take your life way too soon. But we all have choices to make, and if you ask the adult children of many a man who made the wrong ones, you can do better, and live a different lifestyle if you choose, for you and your family.


"Don't take what you took from me...from ME, or any other of your victims, because I know I wasn't your only victim. Among the MANY things you took was my innocence, my self-esteem, my childhood & my RIGHT to have a DADDY...& that is something that EVERY child deserves." – Krista

Parents of young children often seem to forget, children grow up and they may forgive your mistakes, but they never forget, no matter how far back in their minds they put some memories. Maybe you carry scars from your own childhood. Maybe you inherited certain behaviours that do not a good parent make (to say it kindly). Well, you better get them sorted out before having kids because verbal abuse, physical abuse, and most certainly sexual abuse aren’t acceptable ways to show love.  So if you have certain tendencies that you question, or anger management issues, or the inability to control your need for control, you better seek the help of a professional long before you even think of spreading your seed and setting your kids up for a lifetime of horrors that you yourself may know too well. The cycle can be broken, but you have to show your strength by taking control of your urges instead of letting them overpower you so you in turn use them to overpower your kids.


"Man up and take responsibility." - Ana

If you think you don’t want kids, don’t have them. Even worse, don’t have kids, love them and nurture them and when the going gets tough bail on them and pretend that they never existed. A father is for life, and you are either going to take that seriously or you’re going to run like a coward when things don’t go as planned. And the people who will suffer for your weakness will only remember you as the person who left them to take care of his own selfish needs. And there’s no coming back from that. So when you say you’re going out for milk, it better be milk, and you better be back with it before sundown.


"Stay in my life! My life is pretty good and you would be proud! Despite you not being there my life is very good! I wonder what it could've been if I had a dad who cared enough to stick around!" - Kelly Ann

We all know the term “deadbeat dad.” It’s a moniquer many men don’t deserve as they battle for equality in a court system that too often favors moms. It sucks, but what sucks worse is being a child who doesn’t get a dime from their dad for basics like food or clothing. The courts are unfair, fine. But don’t be unfair to your kids when you have the funds to contribute to their care but instead choose to keep them hidden so you can claim that you can’t afford it “this month.” Divorce the mom, not the kids, a wise man will say. Pay your fair share, or keep fighting to make it fair while getting your weekends with your kids. But don’t divorce them. And don’t ignore them when you get remarried and start a “new” family. Your marriage may dissolve, but your relationship with your kids should only grow stronger, no matter what the barriers, no matter how hard the road ahead.


"Don't be so emotionally vacant, and or such a coward." – Jolie

What many men may not get is that there is something that can often be way worse than being hit for a child, and that’s a parent being indifferent. Children want to be loved, and if you have a hard time expressing how you feel, your kids are never going to know where they stand with you. Now maybe you came by it honestly from your own dad, or all of your emotion was beaten out of you at a young age by people who might have abused you, or hurt you, or made you to feel worthless. Well, I know it’s hard, but you can’t have kids and not show them any emotion. You just can’t. You can’t sit there lifeless while the world goes on around you. You have to show anger, and love and joy and pride. You have to share these emotions with your kids. And if that means having to relearn how to feel, fine; find a professional to help you. But do it before you have kids. Don’t let you childhood rob them of their own.


"You will go through some tough times with raising us, all of us. Just don’t let our actions let you feel as though you’re a failure. You’re going to be a great father and even better grandfather." - Mary Elizabeth

This is, of course, easier said than done. Raising kids is not a walk in the park, unless it’s an amusement park and you’re referring to a roller coaster ride. Kids are just little people trying to find their way, and they test you each and every step. And no two kids are alike. So even if you get lucky and have it really easy with one, another could have you posting bail… monthly. So don’t sweat it so much. Every Dad-to-Be worries if he’s going to be Father material. Well, it depends as much on your kids as it does on you, so do bear the entire load yourself. You can be a phenomenal dad and just get unlucky. Some kids are tough. And discipline isn’t fun (unless you’re a sadist), so don’t beat yourself up if you have to use a little tough love. Sure there may be times when your kids hate you, but that just means you’re doing your job. But don’t let these worries stop you from having kids. The fact that you do worry about it means you’re on the right track to being a great dad.


"Follow your intuition. Because of you, all your girls know their worth." – Elizabeth

To end on a positive note, so men just have all their cards land in the right places and are blessed. Or, their kids have willful blindness and most of their faults have been forgotten.  I tend to believe the latter is true more often. But if you are lucky enough to have kids who grow up to have no real complaints, well, you’re the kind of man the world needs more of, and every man, long before he has children, should strive to be this man. May we all be so bold.

Please share this post. If you know a young man, an expectant dad, a new dad or any dad who could benefit from the information provided in this post, forward it to him. We cannot change the past. But we can alter the future- for the better.  - F4F

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Reader Comments (1)

Thought provoking. Well done.

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCreed

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