It’s been about 20 years since I picked up the landline and dialed it, but one of the few numbers I still know by heart is the one I called after school to reach my dad at work. He ran a small business and often worked nights. Those seven digits brought our worlds together.
Fast forward a few years and our family (finally) got cell phones. No need to remember Dad’s number. Just flip the phone, scroll through the contact list and boom -- instant Dad-time from just about anywhere.
Dad-time is in demand.
In a world where today’s fathers are increasingly working mobile and on the move, the premium on Dad-time remains at an all-time high. From airport video chats just before takeoff to real-time updates on social media, today’s dads are finding more ways to make meaningful mobile connections with their children.
With Father’s Day approaching, we took some time in Indianapolis to ask dads about their thoughts on the role of these mobile connections. We spoke to dads who traveled the globe, dads who worked nights and weekends, even dads whose kids were dads themselves.
Every father agreed there is no replacement for face-to-face quality time, but they also acknowledged it takes a certain level of tech-savviness to connect with today’s kids.
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Countless pictures on mobile devices have now replaced the faded wallet photos our fathers used to carry. Dad jokes traditionally reserved for dinner tables are now delivered to an ever-growing digital audience. Yes, even dads like sending memes!
In many ways, these digital tools have redefined the concept of “being there” when it matters. And as I listened to these dads share the trials and triumphs of digital fatherhood, I couldn’t help but think about the man I called over the phone every day after school.
My father bravely fought cancer before he passed in 2011. We spent much of his final months planning trips between treatments and making the most of our family memories. There are pictures and videos, songs we sang, voicemails and texts -- digital gifts I often unwrap and still find tremendous peace, meaning, and joy.
Through these gifts, my dad continues to be there. And for that, I am eternally grateful.