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Happy early father's day

June 20, 2009

I’m generally wary about making claims regarding the “progress” (or lack thereof) of the world and whether or not the world and its denizens are getting “better” or “worse.”

But after listening to the segment on How Did you Learn to Be a Father? on Talk of the Nation a couple of days ago, I must say that the concept of fatherhood in the United States has made a hell of a lot of progress in the last fifty years.  Both the guests on the show (author Abdul Ali and Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal) and the show’s callers offered some eloquent, inspiring, and, at times, heartbreaking answers to the question of how one learns to be a father.

Their responses made me feel very lucky to be a mother-married-to-a-man in a time where fathers can say things like:

  • I learned to be a better father by watching my wife parent our children and trying to embody her patience and compassion,

or

  • I’m grateful that my wife recently gave me the space to step in and correct my mother-in-law, who had just chastised my 2-year-old for climbing on a chair and told her that only boys do things like that.  I reminded my daughter (in so many words) that she should never feel confined by her gender.

And as I sit here and blog while Tim feeds the kids breakfast, I’m also grateful to be a mother in a time where the duties of housework and childcare can and should be reasonably shared between partners, where marriage and parenthood can and should resemble a partnership rather than a dictatorship.

And I’m lucky–oh so lucky–to be married to a person who not only agrees with those sentiments but embodies them in all of his parenting efforts.

(Just as an aside–we can all thank the feminist movement for playing a significant role in bringing us this lovely, modern vision of fatherhood.  I’m just sayin’…)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. renbeth permalink
    June 25, 2009 9:25 am

    Yes, props to Tim & the feminists 🙂

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