There's a small movement toward making families the epicenter of our society again. I can feel the undercurrent of "this is no longer acceptable" as a resounding cry of those leading the charge to take back our future and make it right. Parents have begun to say “here I am” employers, media, government… “here I am, this is me”.
After Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Riley Curry, daughter of Ayesha Curry and Golden State Warriors Point Guard, Stephen Curry- took the podium with her dad. As Steph attempted to answer the questions from the press his 2 year old acted like... well, a two year old. Her cute antics, squeals and I'm so over it attitude toward the reporters was classic. It was a late night and she was ready to go home with her family.
As usual, everyone had their opinion about how the whole experience went down which once again, uncovered the unhealthy and extreme polarity that exists in American culture. That aside, what we all fail to see is that even though the NBA is paying Stephen through the patronage of the fans and advertisers, and the press has their rights to a great story after the game, Riley doesn't care about all that.. Because Stephen is her dad. She doesn't see his stats, his status his fame... She sees her father. Someone who from what I gather from the press conference, really loves her.
Why Does it Matter?
The first reason this matters... we’ve forgotten that our public figures are people and not content or entertainment machines. The average kid doesn’t really know what their parents do at their jobs and it really doesn’t affect them. They can go about their lives, have their parents almost when they want them and can see their parents’ professions as a means for them to remain comfortable and maybe get some of the stuff they like. However, many of the children of public figures grow to understand their parent's profession and the benefits and responsibilities associated with it more readily and earlier on. The citizens who admire, pay, and make money off of these individuals don’t see these... boundaries. We see the contractual obligations these individuals fill (with their lives and their work) but we forget that they have obligations to fulfill with their own families. We often forget that just as we are moms and dads, so are they.
The second reason this matters... Stephen is a dad and the dad struggle is also real. Moms are always in the forefront. We know what moms do. We know what's expected of moms. We know the mom struggle all too well. We’ve begun to really respect that struggle; but we've ignored the evolution of dads and how we should view the role of our fathers in the 21st century. Many of our children are growing up without fathers, masculinity has very finite definitions and restrictions and therefore fatherhood has become this odd and somewhat overlooked experience within our society. Stephen made a lot of reporters uncomfortable mainly because he was in that moment, just a dad… which defies the definition we may have of him as a ball player. It's nice to watch a father multitask for a change. It's nice to see that Steph had the courage to wrangle his toddler while answering questions after a hard days work. It's nice to know that many young black men were watching this young father and his young daughter and hopefully in this tender moment, they learned something about fatherhood that a large population of them may not have experienced themselves.
We needed this human moment to check ourselves; to uncover some of the ugly feelings toward familial life; to shine a light on what it means to be a father; to appreciate the humanity of a star; to show that a toddler can actually make a difference in the way we think our society should be. I hope the NBA stands with the Currys and all other NBA fathers who put their kids first. Hopefully we can all stand with dads like Steph, as we begin to stand on the principles that being human is beautiful, having a family is wonderful and putting that part of you first should be respected.
What do you think? Do #DadsMatter? What side of the coin are you on regarding Riley and Steph at the presser? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Disclaimer: not my images
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.