If you’re like me, your Facebook feed today is full of children and mothers thanking the Fathers in their lives. Video tributes, hand crafted items, taking Dad out for his favorite meal…but what’s really great is they are truly expressing love and appreciation for Fathers. This generation of Fathers is more involved in their children’s lives than ever before. Some are stay-at-home primary caregivers to their children and their spouse works outside the home. Men are achieving more work/life balance to not stay long hours at the office but rather race home to spend time with their children.
We’re starting to see a change in mindset of how people view and talk about Fathers. TV shows and commercials are no longer shaming the stupid/lazy Dad cliche of yesteryear with a perfect superhero Mom/wife correcting his silly mistakes. People are shamed for suggesting that a Dad spending time with his children is “stuck babysitting.” You probably have heard of programs called “Mothers Day Out.” This title assumes only Mothers are primary caregivers that need time away from their children. What about the stay at home dad, or the single Dad trying to make it? Though I am not a stay-at-home Dad myself, I was pleased when my church started a program and chose to call it “Parents Day Out.” Thank you for realizing that child care is not a Mother-only endeavor anymore.
Now, men and Fathers have made many mistakes in the past and there are endless stories of absent or neglecting Fathers. But things are changing and Fathers are more involved than ever. When I take my son out by myself without my wife I don’t need women to give me a sympathetic look as if I’m stuck and am a clueless Dad who will surely screw this up. But the good news is, more and more I see smiles and appreciation for a Father spending time with his son. And that’s the story happening all over, and our media is finally beginning to reflect that. A month ago when I was shopping for a Mothers Day present, I also saw this in the store:
Many people have had bad experiences with their Fathers, or didn’t have a Father around for them. So Father’s Day can be a source of pain (as can Mother’s Day for the same reason). My heart goes out to those with those types of Father issues. Thankfully I had a great Dad who was very involved. He would race home from work to be with us, he left early to coach our sports, he was a mentor to other kids whose parents weren’t around or didn’t care to show up to watch their games. He set a great example for my brothers and me, and so I can be thankful for the time I had with him. When he passed away, at first I felt robbed of more time with him. I try to keep perspective of others that lost their Fathers at younger ages, or never knew their Father at all and I feel blessed.
The more we can see positive examples of Fathers blowing up our Facebook feed, women and Mothers celebrating and praising the men in their lives instead of complaining about them as well as the media reflecting a more positive image the better off we’ll be.
These days, Dads do it all. Change diapers, wipe noses and tears, play dolls and have tea parties, help with homework, coach sports, taxi to practices and music lessons, prepare meals, do the laundry…everything there is for a parent to do. Thank you to all the Dads out there being great examples to your kids and families. And for those who didn’t know your Dad, I hope you’ve had a chance to find a mentor in your life to help fill the void. Ultimately, God can fill that void as our Heavenly Father but He has also blessed us with many great Dads around us to help fill in the gaps.