Bad Dads

“Presence is more than just being there.”

—Malcolm Forbes

Essay compliments of Savvy Dad friend David Hirsch.


At times we don’t know what to do. But that’s OK. Our kids know one thing for sure. We care. We’re there.

Bad dads

Sad young girl

Making mistakes, too. It’s just part of life. It works out just fine. Why? Our kids know. We care. We’re there.

Tough love? It’s hard for us, hard on our kids. But it works out. Why? Our kids know. We care. We’re there.

Often we wonder. Are we doing it right? It’s hard to gauge. Until we read something like this about bad dads.

The words of a girl whose dad walked away. He didn’t care. He wasn’t there. It’s by Guadalupe, an 8th grader in Chicago, Illinois.

The assignment? Write a short essay on “What My Dad Means To Me.”

Dad… what does he mean to me?
The world, everything!

Who am I kidding?
I wish I could say that without lying.

I’ll be honest, I don’t even know myself.
For he’s never been a real damn Father!!

What can I feel for someone that’s never been there for me?
His own daughter.

Love, compassion?
No matter how hard I try, I can’t figure it out.

But I don’t hate him. Nor disgrace him.
But I can’t say he means a lot to me either.

I don’t even have much to say about what he means to me.
Feels like I’ve never even met him.

It’s sad.
Sad, how people you look up to the most aren’t there to listen to you.

Yet I have respect for you dad. Even if he doesn’t deserve it.
Even if he’s ruined half my life already!

I’ll tell you this, no matter how hard it is for me, he still has a small room in my heart.
Somewhere way down there, it remembers him deeply.

If it either causes me pain or happiness, he’s still there in my heart. Even though he means almost nothing to me. Still I’m grateful for him.

I thank him for bringing me to life.
Because even if I don’t love him, I’m here thanks to him and my mother.

—Guadalupe, 8th grade, Chicago

The Lesson Today?

Mistakes. Tough love. Don’t know what to do? It’s normal. It’s fine.
Don’t care? Not there? No excuse.

David Hirsch, a Chicago area father of five children, is a passionate and outspoken advocate for responsible fathering. He is a valued Savvy Dad friend, and the founder of ‘Illinois Fatherhood Initiative’ (, CEO (chief encouragement officer) of ‘TEAMDAD’, creator of the ‘Great Dad Coin’ and ‘The Father Factor’, which is an Indiegogo campaign: The Father Factor

Your Comments

  1. David

    We can all learn from both good and bad role models. Kudos to SavvyDad for inspiring all men to be great dads. Happy 4th of July!!!


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