I cover my cellphone with my hand and drag it across the table, into my lap. No need for anyone to see my phone. Im at a marketing conference to learn the latest trends in mobile marketing. The speaker has just asked the crowd to scan the QR code on the presentation slide, go to the QR codes website then text him the top word on the Web page.
The first person will win his latest book. Thats when I make the drag. As the director of marketing for a local software company, Im interested in staying ahead of the marketing curve, which means mobile, although QR codes are yesterdays news. A text message pings the speakers phone, then another and another, a chorus of pings reverberating.
But no ping from me. I dont have a smartphone, you see, and Im embarrassed by this fact. Some attendees have an iPhone and an iPad and a Black-Berry for good measure. But I dont have one smartphone at this mobile marketing conference. Sad, I know.
Sometimes when we want to compliment a good father, we say, Hes such an involved father.
We like that hes involved with his family, plays with his kids, listens to them. But never once have I heard, Shes such an involved mother. Why isnt that something we celebrate?
We expect mothers to be involved. It goes with the position. To acknowledge an involved mother is stating the obvious, like saying shes a motherly mother or has wider hips. Theres no need to be redundant. And theres no need to celebrate when she does what shes supposed to do. I never congratulate the sun for setting, I just expect it to set.
But its different with fathers, isnt it? We really dont expect fathers to be that involved. We have a different standard for them. Fathers are the second-string parent, the understudy. They go in when moms sick or impaled by a Lincoln log, but only until shes better. Then dad returns to the background to be his passive old self.
So when we do find an involved father, we make a big deal of it, because we dont know when another will come along. We gawk and we chortle, Just look how involved he is, like weve spotted an endangered species, the elusive Involved Father. Maybe we should call the Discovery Channel; quick, take a picture.
Ive written before that the great sin of fatherhood is absence physical, emotional or spiritual. This led me to get rid of my smartphone. A smartphone doesnt make every father absent, but it did me, so I ditched it. Now Im embarrassed and suffer smartphone envy from time to time, but its a small price to pay. Im becoming the father I want to be.
So what makes you absent? Whats holding you back?
Maybe one day absent fathers will be yesterdays news.
C.S. Heinz directs marketing for EnergyCAP Inc., writes for ExtantMagazine. com and CSHeinz.com , and is launching PrayerFit.com in the fall. This weekly column is a collaboration of Centre County Communities that Care serving Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola area school districts, and Care Partnership: Centre Region Communities that Care serving the State College Area School District.