Happy Fathers Day! OK, I have to admit as a father I sometimes feel under appreciated when it comes to parenting. The role of mothers seems to be much more appreciated in how our society views the importance of parenting in a child's life. I am not saying that this view doesn't have some substantial evidence when mothers still play the primary role in the life of children. For most children mom is still the one who comforts them when they are hurt both physically and emotionally. It is not surprising that the highest volume of phone calls is on Mothers Day
. Somehow most of we men have still a long way to go in coming to terms with our "softer" side. I tried not to use the phrase "feminine side" because I have never liked the idea that being in touch with your feelings is a feminine quality. Women of my daughters generation give me encouragement that they not only expect but demand that their husbands play a more significant role in the parental responsibilities. Men benefit from having this responsibility even it doesn't start out as voluntary.
I have mentioned before in this blog that my wife and I have this fascination with the MTV shows 16 and Pregnant
and Teen Mom
. The purpose of the show is to show young girls the consequences of unprotected sex for your future life. When I tell people that I watch this show they are amazed that I watch these shows as I am well past the age of most of the viewers. Probably has something to do with the fact that we fostered teenage girls for ten years. There is one commonality in these shows and our fostering experience. The lack of fathers in most of the girls growing up experiences. No role positive male role models. Without these role models the young girls are vulnerable to exploitative boyfriends. They soon learn that 15 and 16 years old boys are not the best choices for a parenting partner. Video games, hanging out with their friends and cars and trucks always have a higher priority than diapers and 2 am feedings.
I am reminded of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song with the lyrics of "teach your children well.
" A big part of that is to "teach and show your boys the importance of being a good father."
What really annoys me about this issue of men and our attitude toward children is to watch as male politicians not "getting it" that social policies that support the needs of families, women and children are not some muddled, naive, socialist, European foolishness. I can accept that 16 year old boys have not learned the importance of supporting children as just immaturity but to see this ignorance in middle age male elected officials is just plan callousness. It is easy to say "children are our first priority" but it seems too far a reach to put your money where your mouth is.
If you read the link above on the volume of phone calls on Mothers Day you might have noticed that the one country where this wasn't the rule was South Korea where the volume of calls went to fathers by 4 to 1. Not sure how to understand this. But it probably isn't that Korean fathers are more loved as a reflection of the role that the father plays in Korean culture. If any readers have knowledge of this I would love to hear about this more.
I always had a problem buying my Father a gift for Fathers Day. He didn't fish. He didn't like wearing a tie. He didn't play any sports. He wasn't even much for eating out. A phone call and a card was all he wanted. This is my second Fathers Day that I can't make that call.