Thursday, May 07, 2009

Call to arms for Fathers

I have been stricken recently by a trend I see more and more in society of expecting less and less of fathers. Commercials have designated the father as the butt of all jokes. Sitcoms show fathers as either bumbling or clueless. Dramas usually show them as abusive or absent. And the phrase you hear most often of fathers in the office is, "Well, at least he isn't a deadbeat dad." Not exactly high praise. Our society has gone from "father knows best" to "father's gone missing." So it is nice to see at least one commentator calling us on this trend.

I remember watching an OnStar commercial. And as the company touted the features, it showed a father driving his child around, and when the kid starts to cry, the dad freaks out and has to quickly call the mom to calm the baby down. I'm watching that and saying, "Man, it's your child, too! So calm it!"

Then there is the commercial -- I don't even remember what they were pitching -- of two or three kids in the kitchen making a mess after spilling the cereal. The hapless and hopeless dad looks at them and says, "Where is your mom?"

Every time that commercial comes on I scream at the TV, "Where is your mom? Where are your parenting skills, you ingrate!"
I am still a single guy, so I don't have a lot to offer on fatherhood. But I respect my friends who are fathers, and who truly give everything to be good dads to their kids. I know this Sunday is Mother's Day, but here is a Mod-Blog salute to good fathers, too!


Anonymous said...

I do not believe men do not want to be good fathers but I do believe society has incorporated a culture that works against men being good fathers. How often I here of men fighting for not full custody but split and not being able to obtain it.

Before men can have the chance to be good father’s society is going to have to accept that the father plays just as important of a role in parenting and the court system will have to change their views as well. I have personally seen well educated men who have so much more they can offer to their children, be given all but no time awarded with their child. This occurs all the while an out of work mother with no education that seemed to show little interest would still get most of the custody.

Good men who want to be fathers are automatically fighting against a dead beat father image from the moment separation occur. It is to come today to see time and time again that eventually, even good fathers will give up. They give up when broken financially from excessive child support and court cost spent in fighting a losing battle of trying to have equal parenting rights.

Men have to prove they are good fathers while women are immediately expected they are good mothers.

shadowmom1 said...

A good father is worth his weight in gold (or platinum!)
An intact marriage is, too.

"Nick" said...

I get pretty worked up about this as well, especially from a Christian perspective, because we are told God is our Father, and if we have a bad image of what a father is (deadbeat, someone you laugh at) it makes that description seem to be a joke and demeans the image we have of God.

I love it in movies when there is a strong father figure. Cinderella Man and Signs. Doesn't happen often, but once in a while.

I think some of the reason pop culture reflects so badly on fathers (and has done so for a long time, look at the father in the book Peter Pan) is because the emphasis in society for men in general has been on work and on being stoic and not sharing feelings. So the first images in culture of fathers that weren't kind to them were of absent at work all the time (Peter Pan for instance) and hard, aloof fathers.

One thing I have really appreciated about the homeschooling movement is that it has a real emphasis on helping men be strong, loving fathers, showing them that they need to spend time with their kids, and really be a father, not just the guy who's gene's they inherited.