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Dangers of being a disabled dad

August 11, 2016

So what are the dangers of being a disabled dad? That your kids could injure/harm you more than you already are? Possibly but that’s not really something I’m concerned about. As our children are growing up, I have come to realize I can easily use my disability to prevent me from being the father my children need me to be. Here are some dangers I find I need to watch out for regularly.

“I can’t” when really “I don’t want to.”
There are various activities I cannot do with my children. I cannot ride a bicycle with  my children, go for a run, or play a soccer/hockey game with them. They are now all at the age where they can understand this reality and (sort of) why. However, when they want to go on a bike rike, I can go to the same place with them on my wheelchair. When they want to play catch, I can do that with them or watch them jump on the trampoline. There are times I am tempted to say, “Sorry, daddy can’t do that” when the truth is daddy just doesn’t want to do that.

“I can’t participate in the whole event, so what’s the point?”

Related to this is the option of not attending a whole event when my disability will prevent me from participating fully. For example, my daughter’s grade 1 teacher recently hosted a “Scavenger Hunt” for all the dads and their grade 1 children. I could not walk around the schoolyard searching the various items. Yet, I could cover the home base and help read the list while others searched. However, if I had decided not to attend the event at all simply because part of it was “beyond” me, my daughter would have been the only child without a father present at this special activity. To see her face light up when I arrived (as did all the other children when their dads arrived) was incredible! Even if I had just sat there for an hour, she would have been thrilled that I came. Don’t use disability as an excuse for absence.

Nonetheless, there are activities I cannot do because of my physical limitations.

I have to humbly – or grudgingly – allow someone else to help my child in the activity. As a parent, it is important not to let my personal issue/frustration become an additional concern for them. I need to put my personal pride aside and allow others to help and bless my children physically.

Interestingly, especially as children grow into young adults, other adults –  whether teachers, coaches, or whoever – will give input into their teenager’s life. As parents, we want these to be adults who hold corresponding values to those you are trying to nurture. In reality, I just get a head-start.

At the end you come up with two questions to ask yourself:

  • Will I be selfish – with my time, energy, desires – or will I put my children first?
  • Will I be proud and macho or will I ask for help when I need it?

In reality, these dangers really boil down to choices all dads need to make each day, whether able-bodied are not.

There are also benefits to being a dad with a disability. But that’s a topic for another post…



From → Leadership

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