Is it just me, or is Father’s Day in need of a little TLC? Maybe even a complete image overhaul! Nominally, it’s the Dad equivalent to Mother’s Day, but while we’re all fully on board with celebrating Mom, the dads out there seem to be getting the short end of the stick. Mom gets breakfast in bed, jewelry, flowers, a fancy champagne brunch, a day at the spa . . . but by the time June rolls around, all we can muster up for Dad is a floral tie and a crude card (
likely definitely referencing beer, flatulence, or both) selected from the picked-over shelves of a Hallmark aisle—or rather, half of a Hallmark aisle, since Father’s Day shares a month with graduation and wedding season, and those celebratory events dominate gift shops and card stores this time of year.
Sidenote: To be fully candid, I must admit that I, too, fell prey to Father’s Day amnesia this year: it wasn’t until this past Monday that I remembered Father’s Day was coming up, and realized I should make room in my blogging calendar for a Dad-themed post. To put that into perspective, I had my Mother’s Day post planned out in February. Feel free to lecture me for my hypocrisy in the Comments.
A number of factors likely contribute to our under-appreciation of Father’s Day (perhaps we moms are just more vocal about wanting a day to ourselves?), but I think the biggest culprit is our society’s disparagement of fatherhood in general. Dads in pop culture are almost always abusive, or bumbling idiots, or they’re absent altogether. There are exceptions, of course, but this number pales in comparison with the number of positive mother figures.
Dads in real life don’t fare much better, as culture tends to focus more on what dads are doing wrong over what they’re doing right. We’ve all heard the statistics about the number of kids growing up without a dad, and the lifelong repercussions of a father’s physical or emotional absence; we don’t hear of all the good that occurs when they choose to stick around. The rise of feminism has led to women being taken more seriously in the workplace, but unfortunately, the movement hasn’t resulted in an equal rise in appreciation for men within the home. Dads are still perceived in a negative light or, at the very least, unimportant.
Thankfully, not all dads are awful or absent. My own life experience speaks to the existence of stellar fathers—I grew up with an amazing one! My dad wasn’t a weekend dad, or a hands-off dad, or a takes-care-of-the-discipline-but-not-much-else dad. No, my dad was there for me as much for playtime on a Saturday morning as he was during homework time on a Thursday night. He drove me to gymnastics practice, indulged me in late-night conversations about everything from friend problems to the latest American Girl books, and taught me how to ask the important questions in life. Dad demonstrated an active relationship with God and nurtured my own budding faith, even journaling through the whole Bible in letters to me and having the resulting book published. I never questioned that my dad loved me and was for me. He showed me what a good father looks like and modeled the traits I should seek out in the man I would choose to be the father of my own children.
And that much prayed-for man has proven to be an incredible father as well. When I married Luke, I knew that he was kind, conscientious, and patient. I knew that he loved God and would pursue His guidance in leading our family. But nine years ago, I didn’t yet know how much more fully Luke would come to embody these qualities once becoming a father. He was a good man before Charleston’s birth; he is now an amazing one, and I know I could never have imagined a better dad for my son. Luke is playful yet nurturing, attentive without being indulgent, and he always, ALWAYS looks out for Charleston’s best interests. The two of them are the best of friends and seeing them together makes my heart explode with love and gratitude.
My dad. My husband. Two fathers who are great at being dads, and deserving of being praised and celebrated this Father’s Day. I know these aren’t the only two awesome dads out there! So to all of you hard-working, family-loving, skills-teaching, committed dads: I’m so sorry that you don’t get the credit you deserve. Here’s to YOU this Father’s Day!