During the month that America celebrates Father’s Day, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to promote the value of fathers and fatherhood.
In a recent interview with Alec Lace, host of the “First Class Fatherhood” podcast, DeSantis outlined what he thought were key points of being a good father.
It boiled down to two words: Be there.
The governor began the discussion by recalling the birth of his first daughter, who is now 5, as a “life-altering” experience.
“It changes your perspective on life,” he told Lace. He added that he felt he had been sensitive to issues facing families, such as education. But, said DeSantis, “Until you’re in those shoes, you can never fully appreciate those (parental) responsibilities.”
DeSantis also said his priority is to raise his kids “right,” but, as shown through his work as governor, he also is trying to leave his children “a better world, a better state, a better country.”
DeSantis agreed with Lace that the “fatherless” crisis is arguably the biggest issue facing our nation.
“A lot of the problems that we see in society are an outgrowth of the fatherlessness crisis,” the governor said. “If … every kid in America had a loving father in the home, we would have far, far fewer problems that we would have to deal with as a society.”
That’s why, he said, he had great hope for the new fatherhood initiative that the Legislature passed and DeSantis signed last month. It makes state funding available to groups that work to promote fatherhood, and he mentioned the Tampa-based nonprofit All Pro Dad and its primary spokesman, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, as an example of the kind of advocates for fathers that the legislation is intended to help.
“I do think there are a lot of problems, but if you could just snap your finger and do one thing, and you did this where the fathers were in the home, you would not even need to worry about a lot of these other problems,” added DeSantis.
After Lace lamented that his state, New Jersey, did not have its own version of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, DeSantis said he felt that was necessary to prohibit, as the law does for grades K-3, school districts and classroom teachers from imposing lesson plans rooted in sexual orientation and gender identity.
He called it “completely wrong” that “woke gender ideology” should be “crammed down” on children, especially in younger grades.
When Lace asked DeSantis what he hoped his legacy as a father would be, he replied “somebody my kids can look up to.”
Lace also asked DeSantis for his advice to new or soon-to-be fathers.
“Be present. Spend as much time as possible” with your children, DeSantis answered. “Making that effort to be there” is critical, he added.
“You have such a great opportunity to make a meaningful difference in your kids’ lives just by being interested and just by being present and just by setting a good example,” DeSantis said.