By Matt Allen
Dion McInnis felt like dads needed a verb for being a father, an action word that describes what happens in the moments of being a dad.
“Mothers mother — people get that,” McInnis said. “They understand the ongoing nurturing, care giving, and loving that ‘mothering’ connotes. But if we say we saw a man fathering a child, listeners will tend to believe we saw a man having sex. So, daddin’ is a verb I made up to speak the things that fathers do in the moments that comprise the years.”
Along with making up the verb, McInnis turned the word into the title of his new book, “Daddin’: The Verb of Being a Dad.”
The book blends stories and insights from raising three sons and what it means to be a child, a father and a grandparent.
McInnis’ father once told him, “You can have as many kids as you want, but you’ll never be a father until you’ve had a daughter.”
Having raised three boys, I asked McInnis what he thought about his dad’s statement.
“I never had the chance to ask him what he meant specifically, so I can only go by my understanding of my dad. I believe that for my dad — remember, he was born in 1913 and was definitely raised in a different time — having a daughter was a passport to the fullness of being a father, enabling him to connect to more of himself and the richness of being a parent. By using what I learned from both my mom and dad, I was able to listen to, and learn from, my sons in ways that provided great richness. All that said, I also realize that my world will change dramatically and my views will be expanded now that I am a grandfather to a little girl!”
The book is divided into verbs. For example, chapter titles are called Havin’ and Leavin’. McInnis sorted through his writings and analyzed his thoughts on fatherhood to find the verbs that he believed were universal.
“I hope people see the gift that comprises the moments of being a parent when engaged in the verbs of being one,” McInnis said. “Truthfully, the book is for everyone who wants a view into embracing fatherhood or parenthood.”
Dion McInnis is poet, author, photographer, public speaker, university administrator, husband and father. He brings his love of stories, images and words together to share with audiences the wisdom, beauty and joy of life, expression, creativity and humanity. He previously published Listen to Life: Wisdom in Life’s Stories with Xlibris, and three photography books. More of his work and workshops can be found at his site, www.dionmcinnis.com.