As parents, we see an awful lot of judgment on the internet for our choices. It makes it easy to forget that in this digital age, the internet can also be an incredible source of support during a difficult time. A single dad posting on a parenting Facebook page found out recently just how strong that support can be.
Richard Johnson, 21, is a single father to daughter Persephone, 10 months. He posted his story of how he became a single parent and told of his journey finding his footing as a new dad on the Facebook page Life of Dad. His message quickly went viral and has been liked over 15,000 times in less than two days. Here is his incredibly touching post:
Knowing he’s only 21 years old makes his words even more poignant. He sounds so mature and….fatherly. For someone who doubted his ability to raise his daughter alone, he sure appears quite capable. Persephone is one lucky little girl, as many commenters were quick to point out. In fact, Johnson received hundreds of comments praising him for his commitment to his daughter and offering support and advice for the position he’s in.
Speaking of mature, in a follow-up post after the first one went viral, Johnson thanked Life of Dad users for all their support but also, noted that a few commenters made negative remarks about Persephone’s mother. His words about her show exactly what kind of father he is. A fantastic one:
The fact that he recognizes that mental illness is playing a role in her decision not to parent her daughter is incredible. The last thing Persephone needs is for her father to bad-mouth her mother, particularly when it’s something she couldn’t help. He’s focusing on raising his child, and that’s all that matters.
Johnson made his post simply to thank Life of Dad and its users for being a source of encouragement when he needed it most. The internet can be a terrible and vile place but sometimes, it’s someone’s salvation. He tells Yahoo Parenting, “I just wanted them to know that they helped a random soul out, because I will always be indebted to them. There were too many nights when I sat around not knowing if I could do it. But this website really helped my daughter’s father become the man he needed to be for her.”
As someone who also found unparalleled support from fellow parents online, I completely know what he means. When I struggled with postpartum depression after having my first child, it was moms I “knew” from an online message board that understood me best of all. Without them, I might never have sought treatment and having them to talk to through my recovery was invaluable. For Johnson, in his hours of darkness and self-doubt, he also had a place to turn to and help him see that even if things are hard now, they’ll get better. For every bit of crappy judgment, for every stupid attack on a parent for a decision they’ve made, there’s someone getting crucial encouragement to help them keep going. And that’s a wonderful thing.