For expectant dads, the act of conception was the fun part (let’s be real here, fellas).
But, oh, to hold your newborn and dream of his or her future and your new life as a parent … well, for a lot of guys, the conclusion of the journey into fatherhood can be not only exhilarating and joyous but downright scary, at least the first time.
A slew of books are available on that try to ease men into parenting, maybe what dads really need is a way to connect with other like-minded dads to provide help and moral support. If so, then Jason Pradway, and his fledgling group, “Radical Dads,” might be the ticket to realizing a 21st century ideal of fatherhood where “nurturing” and other squishy feminine concepts can be freely embraced by the XY set.
“I had just seen so many fathers who, after their child was born, they would become complacent,” says Pradway, who has a two-year-old son, Nico. “I wanted to be the opposite of complacent.”
Pradway’s group, which meets each Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the N.C. School of Natural Healing (1054 Riverside Drive in Asheville), is a left-leaning group that includes everything from punk-rock dads to hippie dads, he says. (And while more-conservative dads might feel uncomfortable, they certainly are welcome and encouraged to attend, he adds.) The group has a political and spiritual bent that is tied to its liberal inclinations, he says, but adds that many of the intimate talk sessions tend to focus on such ordinary topics as sleep tips, nutrition and how fathers can not only become a bigger part of their children’s lives—but also how they can guide children to reach their maximum potential as human beings.
And lest you think these dads advocate a mushy, soft approach to raising children, more traditional concepts such as discipline also are addressed, Pradway says, adding that he’s aghast at how undisciplined today’s children are.
And though Pradway says he still struggles with getting members to open up, for those who do open up, the group acts as a sounding board for their problems and offers a way to share proven parental tips and techniques.
Pradway says his ultimate goal is to spread the Radical Dad concept nationwide.
For more details, check out Pradway’s videos at www.youtube.com/skinnyboxer or call him at at 450-2333.