Fatherhood is alive and well

I noticed a thoughtful Father’s Day meme this week: “May the Holy Spirit teach fathers to be good mentors for their children.”

It was nice and well-intentioned, and included a sweet photo of a dad playing with his daughter. However, I couldn’t get the following thought out of my mind – Why don’t we ever see messages like these directed at moms on Mother’s Day?

I mean, I’ve never seen a Mother’s Day meme imploring mothers to be good mentors for their kids. Does society assume that’s never an issue?

So why are dads made out to be lesser-than, like they have some sort of deficiency? Why are we correcting them and telling them they’re toxic? Why are we always hinting that they need to be improved?

Father’s Day is their day – can’t we be a little more upbeat and positive?

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Of course, there was a time when dad served as provider, while mom raised the children. Yet even then, dads weren’t less of parents – they just had different roles based on societal expectations and norms. It wasn’t like moms were able to nurture any better than dads, or were born with more intrinsic abilities to raise, support and rear good children.

Times are much different today with working moms, stay-at-home dads, and everyone meeting at the middle, but still the world tends to look more favorably upon mothers and never questions their abilities, judging them to be superior to fathers as parents.

What shapes this? Everything around us.

It’s evident in our attitudes, which spill into everyday conversations at home, work and in our neighborhoods. We see it in schools, where dads play outsiders in settings largely ruled by moms. We read it on the Internet, social media and news media, where the word mom is a synonym for parent. We witness it in the advertising of products and services all around us, where through old-fashioned slogans and dad exclusion via words and photos, marketers seem convinced that dads don’t visit stores and make purchases for their families.

It’s in the entertainment world, where the clumsy and aloof dad character can’t seem to handle any domestic chores, offering cheap comic fodder as the one who doesn’t know how to parent kids while the household goes awry. Even in government, we see supplemental food, health and nutrition programs only for low-income women.

Why should any of this matter?

Whether you’re a dad or not, this issue affects everyone – because we all have or had a dad. Any dad will tell you that being one is a major responsibility. And like any responsibility, whether it’s homework, for-pay-work, or house work, it involves being motivated and dedicated. Remaining faithful and true to responsibilities shapes us better as strong, loveable human beings, helping us to serve our purpose and one another.

Personal side effects include greater prosperity, happiness and a more deep-seated moral compass. As a society, we strengthen our communities, neighborhoods and businesses.

Happiness grows. Attitudes improve. Love flourishes.

Yes, I do pray that fathers will be good mentors for their children, and I pray that same sentiment for mothers.

But I also think that fatherhood has been misrepresented.

The far majority of dads are good men – real good. They need our respect and deserve our support. Contrary to what the media and marketing tells you, fatherhood is alive and well!

Pass it on.

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