“Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of. Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of.”
I remember hearing this nursery rhyme as a little boy and thinking, “Am I really made of snakes and snails?!” The puppy dog thing I didn’t seem to mind so much. I’ve always been a dog person I guess. I digress. The point is this verse is representative of how society has viewed the inherent differences in the personality makeup of males and females. Take it one step further, and you can see how women have traditionally been viewed as the nurturer and men have been viewed as. . . snakes? Okay, not exactly what I meant, but you get the point. Until the last decade or two, men haven’t exactly been viewed as the nurturing kind.
In an effort to change that outdated, unfair, and somewhat ridiculous stereotype, Brian Tessier has founded the support line, 411 4 Dad, which “provides a free support line for prospective single men who are considering becoming a Dad.” The website clarifies that it is not an adoption agency or a legal service, nor is it discriminatory in any way. Rather, it is a community of single dads who offer support and understanding about the adoption process and provide critical answers to other commonly asked questions and issues facing single men hoping to become fathers. “Building a community for intentional fathers” seems to be the altruistic mission statement that fittingly adorns the heading on the website’s homepage.
Himself a single adoptive father of two boys, Brian initially drew inspiration from his own personal struggle to fulfill his dream of fatherhood some time ago. A realization occurred to him that there were few, if any, support systems in place for single men who wanted to be fathers. He cites examples of commonly occurring workplace and life situations that unfortunately contribute to the idea of single men not being adequate primary caregivers. One such example he cites is that of a typical business meeting where a single man answers his cell phone and takes a moment to address an issue at home concerning his child. Everyone sort of looks at him with a doubting sense of judgment. As if to say something like, “Shouldn’t the child’s mother be handling this?” Whereas if a woman was in the business meeting and answering the same type of phone call, nobody would so much as raise an eyebrow about the situation. Does this sound fair or even make any sense? Is there something about the snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails that comprise the makeup of a man to make him incapable of providing nurturing love for his child? Of course not.
The idea of equality in the workplace for women has refreshingly begun to take a stronghold on American society, but the idea of men as primary caregivers has not yet achieved quite that same level of success. Although there is still clearly significant work to be done in both areas, it does seem that gender roles in both areas are finally starting to change. The notion that men can’t be loving nurturers or, conversely, that women can’t be good providers, is slowly being cast aside with other outdated nonsensical items from yesteryear, like electric can openers and Erik Estrada. That’s precisely the message Brian is trying to get out there, albeit in a bit more eloquent manner. Nothing against Erik Estrada of course. He just came to my mind for some strange reason. . .
“There is a lot of misinformation out there. Our goal at 411 4 Dad is to eliminate this bad information, talk through emotional issues, and let prospective single fathers know that they can do it.” Brian’s primary bit of advice to his 411 4 Dad clients is, “Don’t ever give up!” Even though there’s still a long way to go, gender roles are changing like never before, and emotional barriers are being lifted. If you are a single man with the dream of becoming a father, you need to know that this can happen for you. Give Brian’s support line a call at 1-855-411-4-DAD (323), and take that first step to making that dream become a reality.
The far less popular ending verse of that nursery rhyme, by the way, goes something like this: “What are all folks made of? Fighting a spot and loving a lot…” See, even a 17th century traditionalist like Mother Goose realizes that ALL FOLKS are capable of loving a lot J