Who would have thought that a seemingly harmless photo posted by a random dad from Erie, Pennsylvania would actually spark controversy?
Jon Arrigo is 28 years old, a father and, based on this picture in discussion, a bad dad? So here is the scenario: Arrigo posted a picture online of him playing video games, while one of his daughters was sitting next to him, cuddling if you will, and the other was painting his toenails.
As Arrigo put it perfectly, he was "just being a dad."
To his point, that phrase need not be analyzed or interpreted any further than that, but sadly anything posted online is fair game, and Arrigo and his fatherly skills, or lack thereof, are apparently no exception.
Posted flooded in that overly scrutinized Arrigo and what he was, or in this case wasn't, doing in this photo. Some argued that he was playing video games, essentially ignoring his kids while he was fixated on something other than engaging with his children
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Naturally, a few retorts come to mind quickly.
Parenting isn't easy, nor is any parent perfect. What this photo isn't showing is neglect, as some would have you believe. Is the photo the epitome of parenting in a nutshell? Of course not. But it never was intended to be anything more than a snapshot of an instance between father and daughters.
No, dad isn't sitting down with the kids in a staged picture with one child working diligently on their homework, while dad is helping with the process, while the other child is equally involved in something that onlookers would consider constructive that the dad also is taking part in.
But to suggest that this dad somehow is valuing video games over his kids and spending quality time with them, it absurdity at its finest and, quite frankly, the internet at its lowest and once again proving that having a voice thanks to the internet or social media doesn't always mean you have to speak up or say your piece.
The spark of conversation that the positive and negative comments caused thanks to the photo seem spirited in nature, but totally off point on the latter end of that spectrum. A dad playing video games while having his daughters by his side or painting doesn't encapsulate or summarize the parenting skills of Arriago or any mom or dad that finds themselves in a similar situation.
What if Arriago was having his kids sit with him and paint his toenails, but he was working on a sales presentation and on his cell phone making calls to and from the office? The real catalyst and hot button is the video game component of the photo and subsequently the belief of those who thought less of the picture. Arriago is being positioned and pigeon holed thanks to one photo as "one of those" dads that puts a higher priority on Madden Football or Call of Duty more than his responsibility as a parent.
What this photo really shows is an honest portrait of an instant of a parent in the midst of trying to find some down with a little mindless video games while still enjoying the presence of his kids.
What some would have you believe, based on their comments alone, is that the photo is of Arriago playing video games while his kids are still visible in the picture but out his sight playing with knives or power tools while he ignores them and puts a higher precedence on his inane task at hand.
Seems ironically as though the less responsible party in this debate are those who took this photo and passed judgment or voiced an opinion rooted in knee jerk, reactionary digging to find that there's really nothing controversial about it at all.
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