Miami Heat basketball superstar, Dwyane Wade, is easily one of the top 5 players in the National Basketball Association. The shooting guard is electrifying as he displays his skills each time he steps on the basketball court. He led the Heat to the 2006 NBA championship, being named Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the process. He’s well on the way to becoming a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. This season he has teamed up with two time league MVP Lebron James and Chris Bosh to form, what they believe will be a dynasty in South Beach. As a Miami resident, needless to say, I’m a huge fan and I do hope what they envision becomes reality!
Ok then, here’s where you say, “What on earth does all this have to do with The Upbeat Dad?” Well, I’m glad you asked! I also follow Wade on Twitter. And I noted something quite significant. Most athletes and other celebrities, in the brief bio/description on their Twitter accounts speak of their talents or other accomplishments. But not Wade –his simply states, “From Robbins, IL..I’m a father first and everything else after that…”
When I read this, I had to do a double take. Did this basketball icon just say that? In a league where many of the athletes are notoriously womanizers with multiple kids from different women and are absent in the kids’ lives, did he really say that? This was really a breath of fresh air to see. You might be aware that Wade recently went through a messy divorce – one that became final this summer. No doubt, it took its toll on him. With his busy schedule, he has had to incorporate court appearances for his divorce and also for some other legal issues having to do with business deals gone bad. Yet, he has remained focused on crafting his gift as an athlete and the special gift of his children.
I wrote in one of my poems:
It’s a bond you cannot sever
It’s one law nature knows.
Wade’s marriage produced two boys. The divorce has been finalized but the custody battle is just heating up. Yet, when all is said and done, Wade and his former wife will remain parents of these two young sons – who both need the love and care that their mother and father can give. Sure divorce can get messy – I know that from personal experience. But when the dust settles and the marriage is over, the children remain.
I speak of this matter, not endorsing custody of the children to Wade or his former wife. Rather, I’m saying that the kids need both parents and for Wade to even seek custody of them, is commendable. How often have we heard of athletes who have to almost be dragged into court so that they would pay child support for their kids who they hardly know? Even this summer, I heard an interview with a New York Jets player who has multiple children with different women and he literally could not name all of his kids. How frightening!
Whether or not you’re a Miami Heat fan, if you believe in the mission of The Upbeat Dad – which is to acknowledge the need for the positive influence fathers can have on kids’ lives – I hope you would respect Dwyane Wade’s commitment to his sons. He’s recognized that his marriage is over but he does not want his boys to become isolated – without the continued love and support of their father. Both parents have a role to fulfill and I respect him for choosing to be “a father first and everything else after that.”
About the Author of The Upbeat Dad
Rodrick Walters is a professional speaker and the founder of The Upbeat Dad, an organization whose mission is to advocate the positive effect that fathers can have on children’s lives. His daily blog is read by thousands of individuals from all over the world. Readers of the blog are fathers, mothers and children who support the view that kids are better off when both parents are involved in their lives. Rodrick went through a bitter divorce in 2001, during which he saw first-hand the impact on his then 3 year old daughter. He has since given motivational talks to parents and children about the impact of divorce on families. He remarried in 2009 and is the father of a newborn son. His daughter, who is now 12, lives with his new family. Rodrick is a native of Jamaica. He and his family reside in Miami, Florida. Visit his blog at: http://www.theupbeatdad.com