Fatherhood — Part of An Expanded Review of Justin Baldoni’s ‘Man Enough’
Justin Baldoni digs deep into how messy — and beautiful — the journey toward fatherhood can be
Fatherhood has long been a concept that is undervalued, taken for granted, or outright dismissed. Many fathers whose children need them will end up making themselves unavailable (be it physically, financially, or emotionally). Others weren’t fortunate enough to have the opportunity to know their fathers. And there are also men who want nothing more than to embrace fatherhood in profound and spiritual ways…but our society, for one reason or another, won’t let them.
In Chapter 9 of his book Man Enough, Justin Baldoni reflects on his own recent experiences as a young father. He relates that to his family’s history of paternal strife. By processing the lessons passed onto him through his own male elders, Baldoni makes sense of how he hopes to provide his children with a more nurturing alternative. Narratively, he serves as a conscience for other men who will delve into their individual struggles with navigating the experience of parenthood.
This is Part 9 of an eleven-part series examining Baldoni’s book.
Chapter 9 (“Dad Enough”)
Much of Baldoni’s emphasis in this chapter focuses on his complex relationship with his father, Sam. When recounting how he felt upon getting the news of Emily’s first pregnancy, Baldoni recalls having bonded with his dad over the sensation of feeling that initial terror (upon learning one was about to become a parent).
He comments on the spectrum amongst men in terms of their reactions to impending fatherhood:
What happens to each of us who identify as fathers can be shockingly different. I know men who don’t change at all and continue going about their lives almost exactly as they had before, and I know men who dive headfirst into fatherhood and seem to do everything they can to prepare. There are men who don’t want their lives to change and never see themselves being a dad. There are men who are unhappy in their marriage or partnership who think having a child will “fix” things, only to realize very…